Community support officer jailed for issuing bogus fines to cyclists

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The Independent Online

An award-winning police community support officer was jailed for six months yesterday for issuing hundred of false fixed penalty notices.

George McNaught, 48, was the first PCSO in London to be awarded the commendation of the High Sheriff of London after he wrestled a gun out of the hands of a woman at Victoria station in 2009.

But the Westminster-based PCSO was so desperate for success that he started inventing bogus notices, usually for cycling on the pavement. McNaught targeted unwitting members of the public after finding their details on items of lost property.

One ticket was issued to man who had suffered nerve damage to his arm in an accident and could not even ride a bike, Blackfriars Crown Court, London, heard.

Although the exact number of false notices issued is unknown, investigating detectives found at least 350 suspect tickets between February 2010 and September last year.

When police searched McNaught's home they also found a canister of CS gas which had been reported missing from a police locker room.

Fallon Alexis, prosecuting, gave examples of individuals who had received the notices. "One woman had been stopped at Victoria Coach station with friends, had bailiffs come to her house after she was ordered to pay £320 in fines. She had to come to a court hearing, and in her own words felt embarrassed and humiliated due to Mr McNaught.

"Another man who paid a £45 fine later told police he had an accident in 1997, and had suffered nerve damage to his left arm and shoulder, and he said he could not use a bicycle if he wanted to."

Judge John Hillen told McNaught his actions were "crazy" and said: "You were serving the public but that trust placed in you, you abused."

McNaught admitted one count of misconduct in a public office and possession of a prohibited weapon.