Police officer sacked after scanning carrots to buy doughnuts

Eleanor Sly
·2-min read
Glazed Krispy Kreme doughnuts (Getty Images)
Glazed Krispy Kreme doughnuts (Getty Images)

A police officer who scanned a barcode for carrots worth 7p to purchase a £9.95 box Krispy Kreme doughnuts has been sacked for gross misconduct.

Constable Simon Read told a disciplinary panel he had made an honest mistake at the self-service checkout of Tesco Extra in Wisbech, Cambridgeshire, but a panel found his explanation of events was “lacking in credibility".

Panel chair Sharmistha Michaels told the hearing in Peterborough on Thursday: "On the balance of probabilities we are satisfied that PC Read did intentionally scan the wrong barcode."

PC Read had stuck the barcode for the carrots to the doughnut box, the disciplinary panel heard. He claimed he had not checked the self-service checkout screen but CCTV showed him looking at it as he paid.

His contactless payment failed and he had to change to using chip and pin, providing another opportunity to right the supposed error he had made, Ms Michales said.

The police officer was on duty and wearing full uniform when purchased four items when the purchases the carrots, the tray of 12 doughnuts, a drink and a sandwich from the shop on 10 February.

The carrots were apparently scanned twice but the donuts not at all, meaning PC Read paid only £4 for the four items and saved nearly £10.

The panel concluded officer’s actions amounted to gross misconduct. They agreed he had breached professional standards of honesty and integrity and he was dismissed without notice.

“The officer's behaviour has undermined public confidence in the police,” Ms Michaels added, adding PC Read’s actions were “incompatible with his role as a police officer”.

The lawyer who set out the misconduct case, Mark Ley-Morgan, said that PC Read was “using his uniform as cover".

PC Read’s lawyer, Carolina Bracken, said that the policeman had an “unblemished career.” She added he had been involved in policing several royal weddings and Donald Trump’s visit to Blenheim Palace when working for Thames Valley Police.

PC Read joined Cambridgeshire Police since January 2020 and has previously served in the armed forces.

Since the incident, the constable has received a number of prank calls offering him doughnuts. He has the right to appeal against the panel’s decision.

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