Ex-Cleveland cop spared jail after trying to sell police equipment online

Daniel Dawson, who had served as a fully trained officer with Cleveland Police,  had 40 pieces of equipment stashed at his home.
Daniel Dawson, who had served as a fully trained officer with Cleveland Police, had 40 pieces of equipment stashed at his home.

A former Cleveland Police officer has avoided jail after trying to sell equipment such as handcuffs, a baton and police badges on the internet.

Daniel Dawson, 26, had served as a fully-trained officer with Cleveland Police and was working as a community support officer when he made the posts online.

A search of his house also revealed 40 pieces of equipment stashed in his wardrobe including a police helmet, stab vest covers and a CS gas canister.

He posted the items on the website Gumtree, listing the rigid speed handcuffs with a holder and keys for £40, a cap for £30 and badges for £10.

Further posts included a heavy duty utility belt, an extendable baton and a gas canister holder.

Teesside Crown Court heard that Dawson had previously admitted charges of attempted fraud, theft and possessing a prohibited weapon, which related to the CS gas canister.

Michele Stuart-Lofthouse, prosecuting, said that despite the items being listed on the website in August 2014, they had not actually been sold to anyone.

In mitigation the court was told Dawson had suffered from mental health issues, including anxiety, and that as six years had passed since he had served as an officer he claimed he felt embarrassed returning them after such a long period of time.

Rukhshanda Hussain, defending, said he had no previous convictions and accepted it was "foolish and stupid" and that he was remorseful.

Sentencing Dawson, of Middlesbrough, to six months in prison, suspended for two years, as well as 180 hours' community service and £500 costs, Judge Colin Burn said it was a serious breach of trust.

"Policing, as you know, depends on trust, in this country certainly, and that trust has been breached by you when you did not return the equipment you had been issued while you were a police officer, and you breached it again when you tried to sell those items on Gumtree," he said.

"There was one item which was offered for sale, the baton, which if sold could have been putting a significant weapon in the hands of a stranger.

"There was also a couple of stab vest covers which would be useful to someone who wanted to purport to be a police officer."

"The police serve the public openly as you know and with their consent so you should be seen by the public serving your sentence in the community."

Judge Burn also criticised Cleveland Police for not having a more effective system of retrieving equipment from officers when they left the force and said it needed to be addressed.