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12 January 2011, 09:23
A police officer allegedly pocketed £75 in cash handed in by a member of the public, a court heard (Tuesday, Jan 11th).
Pc Julian Lovegrove, 33, was given three £20 notes, one £10 and one £5 by Gustavo Reimann outside Esher police station in Surrey in October 2009, but the constable did not register the money as lost, Winchester Crown Court heard.
Mr Reimann had found it at a petrol station near Hampton Court Palace and decided to hand it in. Lovegrove wrote in the back of his notebook the amount and the denominations and took the cash.
Mr Reimann then went to a police station on December 9 to find out if anyone had claimed it and whether he could have the money, but Surrey Police could not trace the incident.
An email went out and Lovegrove contacted his sergeant, Adam Luck, on December 13 claiming he had forgotten about the money and it was in his locker.
The sergeant searched the locker but did not find it. A subsequent search found the money behind a mirror, but Unyime Davies, prosecuting, told the jury that the money was made up of two £20 notes, three £10 notes and one £5.
Lovegrove was arrested and told officers he had taken part in a high-risk incident on the day the cash was given to him and he had then forgotten about it.
But the prosecution say the cash was handed to him on either October 17 or 18 and not October 23 when the high-risk incident took place.
Miss Davies told the jury: "There is no doubt the proper way to deal with the money was to sign it into the property register and Pc Lovegrove did not do this. He said he had simply forgotten about it."
Mr Reimann told the jury he had "definitely" given Lovegrove three £20 notes, a £10 note and a £5.
Lovegrove, from Petersfield Road, Whitehill, Hampshire, denies one count of theft.
The trial is expected to last three days.