Ministry of Defence police officer illegally claimed £47,000 in expenses scam

A Ministry of Defence policeman cheated the taxpayer out of 47,000 by fiddling his expenses when he was transferred to work in Yorkshire, a court heard.
A Ministry of Defence policeman cheated the taxpayer out of 47,000 by fiddling his expenses when he was transferred to work in Yorkshire, a court heard.
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A Ministry of Defence policeman cheated the taxpayer out of £47,000 by fiddling his expenses when he was transferred to work in Yorkshire, a court heard.

Paul Gerrard, 57, avoided an immediate jail term over the swindle after a court heard of his brave service during tours of Afghanistan and his work helping to protect the British royal family.

Leeds Crown Court heard Gerrard started work as a police officer with Kent Constabulary in 1987 but transferred to the MOD in 2004. He had also worked as a military police officer.

Timothy Capstick, prosecuting, said Gerrard was transferred to Yorkshire in 2011 and was initially allowed to make 'dual commitment' expense claims as he had to rent accommodation in the area as well as pay the mortgage on his family home in Kent.

Mr Capstick said the claims became fraudulent from September 2012 when the family home was sold, releasing equity of £113,000.

Gerrard continued to make claims for rent on property in the York area despite no longer having to make mortgage payments.

He continued the deception during an interview with an inspector about his expenses.

Gerrard produced documents purporting to show he still had a mortgage.

The offending came to light in June 2014 when Gerrard admitted in interview that he had made the illegal claims as he was under financial pressures.

Gerrard, now of Malt Kiln Terrace, Tadcaster, pleaded guilty to fraud. The total value of the offence was £47,950.

Khadim Al'Hassan, mitigating, said: "He has been a productive member of society and a significant portion of his life has been in the service of Queen and country."

The barrister said Gerrard had completed a number of tours as a military police officer.

Mr Al'Hassan said his client had been shot in the arm serving in Afghanistan and had also lost a toe in an explosion.

He added: "He has done as much as anybody can expect and more as far as his deployment and work for the Ministry of Defence."

The court heard Gerrard had also spent four years involved in the protect of members of the royal family.

Mr Al'Hassan said the offence occurred after his base was closed and he was relocated north.

He added that Gerrard had financial pressures at the time and was suffering from depression as a result of his experiences while serving his country.

Gerrard was given a two year year prison sentence, suspended for two years.

Judge Guy Kearl, QC, told Gerrard he was prepared not to send him immediately to custody because of his service record.

He said: "You are described as someone who is honest, trustworthy and fearless."

Describing the offence, the judge said: "As an experienced police officer I am satisfied that you knew perfectly well what you were doing was wrong but you continued to claim the allowance."

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