A Cambridgeshire police officer has denied stealing a dozen Krispy Kreme donuts from a Tesco supermarket.
PC Simon Read stands accused of deliberately underpaying for the sweet treats while shopping in Tesco Extra in Wisbech, Cambridgeshire, while on duty and in uniform.
It is alleged he intentionally scanned a self-service barcode for carrots costing 7p, rather than the barcode for the 12 donuts, which should have cost £9.95.
At a misconduct hearing today, the former soldier accepted he had failed to scan the correct barcode but denied it was done intentionally.
PC Read is accused of breaching the force’s professional standards of discreditable conduct and of honesty and integrity. He could be fired from the force if found guilty.
The Cambridgeshire police officer, who joined the force in January of this year, said he was buying the sweet treats for colleagues as a “cake fine” on February 10 this year.
“Cake fines are fairly common in the police. It’s a way of being punished in a light-hearted way,” he said.
PC Read said he was buying the carrots for his sergeant who was on a diet, and he thought it “would be funny” for them to be in a Krispy Kreme paper bag.
He said he stuck the carrots barcode onto the donut tray, as it would have spoiled the joke if he stuck it on the paper bag.
“I simply scanned where I believed the barcodes were and placed them down (in the bagging area),” he said.
“I didn’t check the screen. I wish I had have done.
“I wish I had paid more attention to what was an ordinary experience – going to the shop, scanning some items and paying.”
He said he felt “embarrassed” by what happened, adding: “This has been a very long and lengthy nine months, not being at work when I should be.”
He said he took a receipt but did not look at it, adding: “I had no cause to.”
‘He would have had to be standing there with his eyes closed’
Lawyer Mark Ley-Morgan, putting the misconduct case, disputed PC Read’s claim it was an honest mistake.
He: “He would have had to be standing there with his eyes closed not to see what was happening on the screen in front of him.
“You have to tap the screen. You have to tap to check out, you have to tap to say if you want any bags, you have to say which method of payment you choose.
“Do you do that without looking at the screen?”
He went on: “It beggars belief that he wouldn’t at some point have seen he was being charged just over £4, knowing some moments before he picked up an item that cost a tenner.”
The hearing, listed for two days, continues tomorrow.