London

Met Police PC Richard Bent sentenced for theft

A Metropolitan Police constable who stole from a dead man's house has been given a 24-week suspended sentence.

Richard Bent, of Wandsworth, south-west London, admitted two counts of theft at Westminster Magistrates' Court.

He stole £250, a passport and cheque books from a house he was stationed at after the occupier died in hospital.

Bent had been under surveillance at the time of the theft and was also caught out pocketing money from a bag handed to him by an undercover officer.

The prison sentence was suspended for 12 months and Bent, who worked in Westminster, was ordered to do 200 hours of unpaid work.

Following the sentencing, the Met said Bent had been dismissed from the force after being found guilty of gross misconduct.

Prosecutor Emma Scheer said Bent was under police surveillance in July, when he was stationed outside Rustam Ghandy's home.

'Not attractive'

Mr Ghandy had died in hospital and an investigation into his death was active.

On his way back to the police station from his duty outside Mr Ghandy's house an undercover officer handed him a handbag claiming to have found it, Ms Scheer said.

She said: "He didn't take any details from her at all.

"He took the bag and the £93 (and put the money) into his own bank account."

When he was searched later, Bent was found to be carrying more than £250 in cash, Mr Ghandy's passport and three of his cheque books.

When questioned, Bent said at first he was going to hand in the items later but when he was told he had been under surveillance he confessed.

Mitigating for Bent, his lawyer Guy Ladenburg said: "What Mr Bent did was not attractive... he's deeply ashamed.

"He was living just a little bit beyond his means."

Commander Allan Gibson, head of the directorate of Professional Standards at the Met, said: "We expect the highest standard of conduct from our officers and this individual clearly fell well below this."

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites