Senior policeman charged with fiddling expenses

A senior police officer went on trial today charged with fiddling his expenses.

Chief Inspector Jonathan Baldwin, 42, from the Essex police force, appeared at Ipswich Crown Court accused of fraud relating to false mileage claims.

The officer, who earns £48,000 per year, denies three counts of fraud relating to journeys made between December 2007 and March 2008.

"He made three claims which were blatantly false," said Gregory Perrins prosecuting.

"The fact that they were false must have been obvious to this defendant when he submitted the claims.

"To submit claims that were false was both dishonest and fraudulent."

The expense claims were for a "very small" amount of money - £310 in total, said Mr Perrins.

Jurors were told that Baldwin is a facilitator at the Windsor Leadership Trust. In January 2008 he made a claim for a journey to visit the charity on December 30 2007.

"The claim for 142 miles was entirely false, he never went on that day," said Mr Perrins. "In fact, he was working in the Essex Police headquarters."

Mr Perrins told the court that on two other occasions Baldwin made claims for journeys which were "grossly exaggerated".

On March 31 2008 he made an expense claim for 440 miles from Essex to Windsor.

Mr Perrins said: "Anyone with a basic grasp of geography would know it is not that far."

Baldwin also asked to be reimbursed for 400 miles for a journey from Essex to Oxford to attend a police conference.

The journey was in fact only 202 miles, said Mr Perrins.

The court heard Baldwin moved to Essex Police from Wales to take up the role as an inspector in June 2007.

A month after he started a vacancy for acting Chief Inspector arose. Mr Perrins said the previous holder of the post stood down during an inquiry into "use of Essex Police resources".

"You might therefore expect the new holder of such a post to be aware of absolute integrity," added Mr Perrins.

When he was interviewed Baldwin blamed the claims on "administrative errors".

He said that he had got the dates confused for the first charge. For the other charges he said he had put the wrong numbers down.

The trial continues.

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