A respected PC who helped police several Royal Weddings has been sacked after he underpaid for a box of donuts while on duty.
PC Simon Read attached a 7p barcode sticker for loose carrots to a £9.95 box of 12 Krispy Kreme donuts.
The 37-year-old told a disciplinary hearing that he made an “honest mistake” while scanning the items at Tesco self-service tills.
But today a panel ruled his explanation was “lacking in credibility”.
Lawyer Mark Ley-Morgan, who set out the misconduct case, described Read as “an officer effectively stealing while in uniform”.
He added: “He was using his uniform as cover. Who would be suspicious of a police officer?”
Panel chair Sharmistha Michaels concluded that PC Read’s behaviour amounted to gross misconduct and dismissed him without notice.
She said: “We feel that if this had been a genuine mistake, there would have been numerous occasions for this to be remedied by the officer.
“On the balance of probability, we say that he intentionally scanned the wrong barcode, and that his conduct was therefore dishonest, and his behaviour discreditable.
“This breach of the standards of professional behaviour was so serious that we have found it to amount to gross misconduct, and dismissal is therefore justified.”
The Cambridgeshire Police misconduct hearing was told that PC Read had an “unblemished career” before the incident.
He joined Thames Valley Police in 2008 and was involved in Donald Trump’s visit to Blenheim Palace and several royal weddings.
Read transferred to Cambridgeshire Police in January this year only one month before the donut incident.
He was in uniform when he purchased four items from a Tesco Extra in Wisbech, Cambridgeshire on February 10 this year.
The 12 donuts, carrots, sandwich and drink should have cost £14.
However, PC Read scanned the carrots barcode twice and failed to scan the donuts barcode, meaning he paid just £4.
A Tesco manager later reported a “suspicious police officer at its store” triggering an investigation.
PC Read told the hearing in Peterborough, Cambs., that he stuck the carrot barcode on the donut box as part of a prank.
He claimed he was buying the carrots as a joke for a colleague and did not wish to give away what was inside the bag.
But the misconduct panel disagreed and ruled his actions were deliberate.
Carolina Bracken, PC Read’s lawyer, revealed he served in the Armed Forces before joining TVP.
While there he was one of the officers involved in the case of Pc Andrew Harper, who was dragged to his death in Berkshire in 2019.
She said the donut allegation weighed heavily on her client who has recently received night-time prank calls from people offering him donuts.