Dozy Croydon copper faces jail over bungled iPhone insurance scam
A DOZY policeman who lied about his phone being stolen – and then used it to call his girlfriend – is facing jail.
Croydon constable Gareth Beard, 35, claimed his broken mobile had been snatched in the Whitgift Centre McDonald's to get a replacement.
Beard also made a bogus crime report to back up his fictitious claims about the disappearance of his iPhone 3.
But the bungling crime-fighter was rumbled when the phone was used to call his girlfriend and home number after he reported it stolen.
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CCTV from the McDonald's showed no trace of the officer.
Beard denied fraud but was convicted by a 10-2 majority following a trial at Southwark Crown Court.
Adjourning sentencing until October 11, Judge David Higgins told him: "There is a high probability of an immediate custodial sentence.
"When a police officer behaves in this way the consequences are likely to be severe."
Beard had no previous convictions and prior to the episode had only ever been disciplined by the police for poor timekeeping.
But he now faces an internal disciplinary hearing that could spell the end of his career.
"As a result of this conviction, that will be fast-tracked," said prosecutor Felicity Gerry.
Beard will learn his fate within months.
He had falsely claimed that his iPhone 3 was taken from his bag at McDonald's on April 22, 2010.
The officer, who was working at Croydon Police Station, later changed his story when quizzed by a superior and said the phone had been stolen two days earlier.
But records showed a series of calls had been made to Beard's home phone, former partner and then girlfriend, on April 22 – after he claimed the phone had gone missing.
He had filed a claim for a new phone with O2 and his insurance company on April 22 shortly after 11am. When police seized CCTV for both dates, they found no trace of Beard or the alleged theft.
Several weeks later, the under-pressure officer changed his story again, by which point it was too late to recover footage of the new date he had come up with.
Miss Gerry said: "As an experienced police officer he would have been aware of the likelihood that CCTV footage is destroyed in short periods of time, in this case 30 days."
Beard, of Caterham, in Surrey, denied one count of fraud.