Northampton

Northampton firearms officer Neil Bull guilty of shoplifting

A Northampton firearms officer stole lubricant sex gel after panicking about his partner's daughter seeing him.

Neil Bull, 37, was found guilty at the town's crown court, of stealing the gel and other items from Boots, on three separate occasions in 2010.

Bull, of London Road, Wollaston, admitted taking the gel, but denied theft as he planned to go back to pay.

Judge Richard Bray ordered him to pay fines and costs of £2,250 and told him his career was "inevitably over".

Bull was found guilty of three counts of shoplifting from the store, on 20 September, 5 November and 4 December.

During the two day trial, Bull told the court he put the bottle of Durex Play in his pocket and walked out of the store because he feared his partner's 20-year-old daughter, who was also shopping in the store, would see him with it.

He said he was so panicked that while he was aware he had the gel in a pocket, he forgot he also had a drink in his hand and walked out of the store.

He had intended to return to the store to pay for the goods but was accosted by police before he had the chance and tried to flee the scene, the court heard.

'Shoplifting for thrills'

Bull told the court: "I heard 'stop police'. It was a split second decision.

"I've analysed it over and over again. It was a mistake."

Prosecuting, Andrew Copeland accused Bull of shoplifting for thrills.

"You are a trained police officer, trained to think clearly under fire," he said.

"Why didn't you at least pay for your Lucozade?"

Ordering him to pay a fine of £1,500 and court costs of £750, Judge Bray told Bull: "I'm not going to lecture you, you know what you have done.

"It's sad to see you here. Your employers will doubtless take the inevitable on what happens next."

Northamptonshire Police said Bull had been suspended from duty since being charged.

"Now he has been convicted of all three charges, a disciplinary hearing will be held within the next two weeks," a spokesman said.

"PC Bull remains suspended. The vast majority of officers sincerely uphold the law - cases like this are extremely rare and we will take action against any officer or member of staff who commits a criminal offence."