Dyslexic ex-sergeant Colin Hughes jailed for forgery
A dyslexic former police officer has been jailed for forgery after he was caught out by his bad spelling.
Colin Hughes, 35, from Wirral, made allegations against a man saying he was a drug dealer and owned a replica gun.
He was a sergeant and sometimes acting inspector for Merseyside Police at the time, Manchester Crown Court heard.
Hughes admitted perverting the course of justice and forgery at an earlier hearing and was jailed for three years and four months.
He was found out when he forged documents purporting to be from other officers to be used in court and spelled their ranks wrongly.
Some reports were made online while he sat at his computer in Tuebrook police station, the court heard.
Hughes made 20 false reports to Crimestoppers, between July 2014 and May 2015, anonymously reporting that a father-of-two was dealing heroin and cocaine, and made 15 further false allegations to the NSPCC.
The false intelligence was passed on to police colleagues and social workers, and on one occasion the victim was stopped, searched and questioned by officers but the authorities realised the reports were malicious and untrue, the court heard.
Duncan Bould, prosecuting, said the letters, along with the other reports, "bore the significant hallmarks of poor spelling and grammatical errors".
He said Hughes had a habit of putting capital letters in the middle of words due to his dyslexia.
Police were alerted and Hughes, who had been a police officer for 12 years, was arrested and suspended from his job in December 2015.
Officers also discovered he had forged a letter from a former teacher to help secure £5,000 funding from his force for a place on a masters degree course.
John Parry-Jones, mitigating, said: "His previous life is completely broken. This is going to haunt him."
Passing sentence, Judge David Stockdale QC said although Hughes's medical conditions explained some of his "extraordinary conduct", he had no alternative but to jail him.
He added: "This has been persistent and sustained offending over a period of time and of the utmost seriousness.
"You have brought disgrace on yourself and tarnished the reputation of Merseyside Police."
Hughes was also dismissed from the force in his absence at a misconduct hearing on
Det Ch Supt Karen Cummings said: "We will not have officers and staff working for us who do not uphold the highest levels of professionalism and honesty."