Decorated Anti-Shoptlifting Cop On Trial For Shoplifting

Richard Pendlebury a decade ago as a decorated officer
Richard Pendlebury a decade ago as a decorated officer

A decorated police officer who helped front an anti-shoplifting campaign went on a stealing spree in Asda before assaulting a security guard as he tried to leave the store, a court has heard.

Richard Pendlebury, 42, an officer with Greater Manchester Police, was stopped by staff at the Pilsworth Road store in Bury who searched his child’s changing bag to find a woman’s top, dress, shoes and apples.

Pendlebury, a custody sergeant at Bury Police Station, flashed his warrant card to the security man upon being asked to return to the store – telling him he was an off duty police officer as he attempted to pass the bag to his partner, Zoe Wilkinson, 30.

Pendlebury, a serving officer for over 20 years, denies theft and assault on September 19, 2014, and further denies one count of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice between September 18, 2014 and April 9 2015.

He also denies two charges of intending to pervert the course of justice along with Wilkinson, who faces the same two charges between the dates of December 27, 2014 and January 1, 2015.

opening the case at Preston Crown Court, Mr Richard Haworth said Pendlebury entered the store carrying his child accompanied by his other child on a scooter, behind Wilkinson who went to return a pair of leggings.

CCTV showed the couple looking in the clothing area before Wilkinson held up an item of clothing and placed it in the trolley.

Mr Haworth said Pendlebury was then seen on CCTV selecting a sandwich and giving it to the children.

Mr Haworth said: “Mr Pendlebury was seen to lean down into the trolley for a number of seconds before standing up, now holding an empty sandwich box and a clothes hanger and walked over to a bin and threw the empty items into a bin together with the hanger.”

Jurors were told as they made their way to the tills – the trolley “neatly arranged” with the child’s changing bag and a pink scooter – there was no sign of the items that had previously been placed in it.

After they left, Pendlebury was approached by a security guard holding the empty sandwich box and hanger.

Mr Haworth added: “He asked the defendant to return into the store and needed to speak to him about the items. He put the child down and took hold of his arm and produced his warrant card.”

He added that Pendlebury attempted to pass the changing bag to Wilkinson, then grabbed the security guard before a struggle ensued.

Mr Haworth added: “Mr Pendlebury suggested his partner suffered from depression. Mr Pendlebury sought to persuade the store to take no action, referring to the fact he was a custody sergeant and had been a police officer for a number of years.”

Once inside, the bag revealed £24 worth of clothing goods and apples and a sandwich totalling £1.25.

Pendlebury was to admit the child had eaten the sandwich, adding he was happy to pay for it, before telling staff his partner was on medication and “didn’t know what she was doing”.

The court later heard the couple asked Wilkinson’s hairdresser to cover for them in providing a false statement, claiming she had witnessed the security guard “grabbing” at Wilkinson’s arm.

The woman later pleaded guilty to conspiracy to perverting the course of justice, saying she had been asked to provide a false account when Wilkinson told her her partner’s “job was on the line”.

Jurors were further told Pendlebury had been caught on camera in the custody area at Rochdale police station admitting on the telephone he was going to have to “take a hit” after learning that police had found incriminating text messages on his partner’s phone.

In 2005, Pendlebury was honoured with the Chief Constable’s Commendation for extreme courage and bravery after he was stabbed and sprayed with CS gas as he chased a man.

He later helped publicise an initiative to combat pickpockets and shoplifters in Bury town centre.

“Face of the Force” Top Cop Sacked For Fraud

Chief inspector John Buttress appeared in an advert for the police in 2005. Ten years later he was sacked for fraud
Chief inspector John Buttress appeared in an advert for the police in 2005. Ten years later he was sacked for fraud

A senior police officer accused of mortgage fraud, once the face of the force, has been sacked.

Chief Inspector John Buttress, 48, was dismissed for ‘gross misconduct’ following a week-long disciplinary hearing.

He was accused of failing to tell his mortgage provider that he was using part of his north Wales farmhouse for holiday lets.

The officer was charged with mortgage fraud but a jury took just 20 minutes to clear him following a trial in January.

But he remained the subject of internal disciplinary proceedings which has now concluded he was guilty of ‘gross misconduct’. He was dismissed from his ?55,000-a-year post with immediate effect.

While the jurors in his trial had to ask whether he was guilty ‘beyond reasonable doubt’, the panel of two senior police officers and a lay member decided he was guilty ‘on the balance of probabilities’.

The former officer is considering an appeal.

Speaking outside GMP’s headquarters in Newton Heath moments after learning the ruling, Mr Buttress said: “I’m absolutely flabbergasted. It’s just utterly ridiculous.”

He continued: “I absolutely deny any suggestion of dishonesty and always have done. There isn’t even a motive for me to have done the things I have done. It’s clearly ridiculous.”

He said he had ‘never clocked a sub-clause which is in the 80-page booklet accompanying the mortgage details’ which required him to tell his loan provider part of the farmhouse was being let to holiday-makers.

After his arrest, he said he notified his provider and they charged him ?75 administration fee before allowing the holiday letting to continue.

He said his main residence was the ?650,000 Overton Vale Farm near Wrexham although he also stayed in Manchester during the week for work.

The former officer claimed the investigation into him was prompted by a series of complaints he had made against the force alleging ‘bullying, nepotism, cronyism among the upper echelons’ of the police’.

“I was a whistleblower,” he said.

GMP has asked Kent Police to investigate the allegations.

The force said the officer had ‘fallen below the accepted standards in relation to honesty and integrity’.

John Buttress was sacked because he had ‘fallen below standards of honesty and integrity’, say police bosses.

Assistant Chief Constable Garry Shewan said: “The public rightly expect the highest professional standards from their police officers and these expectations are higher when they are senior officers. When we join policing we are aware of the responsibilities that come with the uniform.

“Chief Inspector Buttress has fallen below the accepted standards in relation to honesty and integrity and discreditable conduct in that he applied for a specific mortgage relating to a domestic dwelling when he was in fact renting out the farm house as a holiday rental. He also applied for two lots of single person’s discount from the council for council tax for the same period on two different properties when aware that he was only entitled to one.

“When such allegations emerge it is important that an investigation takes place and that was what was carried out. The decision of the hearing demonstrates that we will take action to ensure standards are adhered to and we maintain confidence in policing.

“The code of ethics clearly sets out the principles and standards of behaviour that are required for everyone who works in policing. We believed Ch Insp Buttress had a case to answer for gross misconduct in relation to breaching those standards which is why this was pursued. In the interest of transparency we felt that the evidence should be considered by an independent panel.

“This is the end of a process that began when the Crown Prosecution Service felt there was sufficient to take a criminal prosecution forward. Ch Insp Buttress may have been acquitted in a crown court where the burden of proof is beyond all reasonable doubt, the burden of proof for breaching the standards of professional behaviour is based on the lower threshold of a balance of probabilities.

“He has been dismissed from Greater Manchester Police with immediate effect.”

GMP Top Cop Quits

peter-fahy

One of the UK’s top police officers Sir Peter Fahy is to retire as Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police (GMP).

Sir Peter, originally from London, has been a police officer for more than three decades including serving as the chief constable for both Greater Manchester and Cheshire.

He will leave his £193,000-a-year post in October to take up a role as the chief executive of a charity.

In a statement Sir Peter said: “Following 34 years as a police officer including almost 13 years as a chief constable I have decided that now is the right time to leave policing. It has been a great privilege to serve the people of Greater Manchester and to lead the wonderfully dedicated staff of GMP.

“It has always been my intention to leave during the autumn of this year. I have led the force through four years of budget cuts and staffing reductions but despite this we have achieved significant improvements in service, increased public confidence and reduced crime and anti-social behaviour.

“It is now time for someone else to bring fresh ideas for what will be more challenging years ahead.

“The best part of my job has been to work with so many committed members of staff, members of partner organisations and so many active community members and charities.

“I would like to thank them for all the support they have given me and for the personal support I have received from police and crime commissioner Tony Lloyd.

“I have been offered the post of chief executive of the children’s charity Retrak. Over the past five years I have worked with the charity on a voluntary basis with teams of GMP staff and colleagues from the Fire Service travelling to Uganda and Ethiopia to work with street children there.

“It is a great charity rescuing hundreds of children every year and with the potential to grow further. It fits in well with my interest in child protection and child welfare issues in this country.

“I am very excited by this new challenge.”

Greater Manchester Police Top Cop Served with criminal papers

gmp-fahy

Greater Manchester Police’s (GMP) Chief Constable has been served with a criminal and gross misconduct notice, the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) said.

Sir Peter Fahy is being investigated over his role in an allegedly poorly-handled investigation into a suspected sex offender.

The IPCC has served the notice following allegations made by a whistleblower serving with the force.