Shirebrook men convicted of impersonating police officers

Rigg Lane, Blidworth Bottoms
Rigg Lane, Blidworth Bottoms

Two Shirebrook men who pulled over a lone motorist in the middle of the night  near Blidworth pretended to be police officers, a court heard.

Brian Birch and Jamie Gregory denied impersonating constables, at around midnight, on January 31, at a trial at Mansfield Magistrates Court, on Thursday.

The motorist described how he stopped on Blidworth Lane for a cigarette, then turned on to Rigg Lane, where a van pulled up behind him with a blue flashing light.

He said: "They stopped me as if it was police pulling me over. I got asked to provide my details to them. I could see a passenger and a driver.

"I asked to see some sort of warrant card because there were no markings on the vehicle and no uniforms."

He was asked for his details twice more, before a red torch was shone into his eyes, then the van drove off up Rigg Lane.

The motorist followed them to get the registration and phone 101 to report what had happened.

When the van stopped he pulled up beside it and a red light was shone into his eyes again.

He then called 999 and followed the van to the carpark at McDonald's, in Sutton, where Birch and Gregory were arrested.

Birch, 25, of Ash Grove, and Gregory, 24, of Langwith Junction, denied the charges on March 15.

Birch said he had gone for a ride with Gregory in a van he'd just bought, and said he recognised a friend at a car park in Blidworth Bottoms.

He claimed he found a flashing blue light in the van and started "messing around with it."

He said he had red and white torches which he used for pest control, but denied going to Rigg Lane.

"Why didn't you tell the officer this when you were arrested?" asked prosecutor Kevin Kavanaugh.

"I don't know," said Birch.

"The reason is because this is all made up," said Mr Kavanaugh.

Morgan Hogarth, for the defendants, said it was for the crown to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the offence had been committed.

Finding them guilty, district judge Andrew Meachin said he found the witness's evidence "credible and truthful" while their testimony was "complete fabrication."

"You were clearly the two people in the vehicle," he said. "This is mischievous behaviour, which carries up to six months."

They were bailed, on condition they don't go to Blidworth Bottoms, to appear for pre-sentence reports on June 13.