Gun sale Pcs in pension battle

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A POLICE officer who sold guns handed in for safe disposal is to receive a lump sum of nearly £40,000 and a pension of more than £15,000 a year.

Pc Maurice Allen had wanted more, but a judge ruled some reduction in pension was appropriate following Allen’s conviction for misconduct in public office.

Co-accused Pc Damien Cobain will lose 10 per cent of his entitlement, leaving him with a lump sum of about £28,500 and £4,500 a year.

Allen, 49, of East Rainton, and Cobain, 43, of Silksworth, Sunderland, left Durham Police after it was discovered guns in the property store were being sold on to members of the public.

Both men received suspended prison sentences in 2010 and were ordered to repay the money they made from gun sales.

Durham Police Authority subsequently cut both men’s pensions, Allen’s by 65 per cent – the maximum allowed – and Cobain’s by 30 per cent.

The two men appealed against the cuts.

Their appeal was heard yesterday at Teesside Crown Court.

Patrick Darby, for Allen, cited other cases of criminal police officers which he said suggested the maximum cut should only be imposed following conviction for far more serious offences, such as rape.

Ian Skelt, for Cobain, said his client played a lesser role, and the criminal court case revealed serious defects in Durham Police’s procedure for handling firearms.

Mr Skelt said Cobain had started a car valeting business to support his wife and two children.

He had declined requests from the press to tell his side of the story, including offers of payment.

The court heard Allen had been in the force for 29 years, and Cobain for eight years.

Judge Peter Fox, sitting with two magistrates, ordered Allen’s pension to be reduced by 25 per cent, and Cobain’s pension to be reduced by 10 per cent.

The judge said: “The criminal conduct lasted four years, but account should be taken of Allen’s 25 years of unblemished service, including commendations.

“Allen’s forgeries and other deceits are to be distinguished from Cobain.

“It is right this conduct caused a loss of confidence in the police service. It is to be hoped that loss was brief and the defects in procedure have been repaired.”

The appeal was funded by the Police Federation. Judge Fox declined to make a costs order in Allen’s case, but awarded Cobain the costs of his appeal.

Neither of the men attended the appeal hearing.

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