Pc punished after wasting police time

SUFFOLK policeman Dez Thompson escaped jail today after pleading guilty to wasting 420 hours of police time.Thompson was ordered to do 200 hours' community service after pleading guilty at Lowestoft Magistrates Court today to making up the story that he was shot at.

SUFFOLK policeman Dez Thompson must begin to pick up the pieces of his shattered life today after pleading guilty to wasting 420 hours of police time.

Thompson was given a 200-hour community punishment order at Lowestoft Magistrates Court after he admitted making up the story in which he was allegedly shot at. The false claim sparked an inquiry that is estimated to have cost nearly £8,000.

The 32-year-old, who was described in court as "a ticking timebomb" and "an accident waiting to happen", had claimed that while on duty in March he followed a white Citroen Saxo on the B1117 from Stradbroke, near Eye. He said that a balaclava-clad gunman had got out of the car and shot at him.

Detectives brought in a police helicopter, two armed response units and interviewed more than 80 people in a bid to track down the gunman.

Thompson claimed that he had been responding to an anonymous call about a male looking into the windows of parked cars when he came across the car.

Investigations by the police revealed that no call had ever taken place and Thompson admitted making it up.

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The court heard that Thompson had actually stopped a red Cavalier car while on duty which had no rear number plates.

After suspecting the driver of being drunk, he tried to breathalise the man but was jeered by a group of three hostile males.

Upset by this, Thompson let the men go and returned to Eye Police Station without arresting them.

When asked later to go out to investigate an assault allegation, he said he couldn't go because he was too upset. He then made up the story.

Not wanting to admit what had happened to him with the three men, Thompson decided to cover up this by making up the story.

Yesterday the court heard that Thompson had been suffering from a mental illness and was unhappy about working in an isolated area such as Eye where he felt vulnerable. He had been transferred to Eye from Newmarket.

David Goodin for Thompson said his client was "a ticking timebomb, an accident waiting to happen".

Mr Goodin said pressure on his client had become more intense after his debts spiralled to almost £40,000 following a failed romance.

Chairman of the bench John Nichols said: "This is a very serious offence. The high level of disruption to the police and the public at large, and also the considerable cost to the public purse, are all aggravating factors."

Thompson, who has said that he will be resigning from his job, had been suspended following the investigation.

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