Ex-Royal worker tells of Palace porn trading

A former royal protection officer accused of a £3m betting and property scam has claimed colleagues played poker and traded porn while working at Buckingham Palace.

Paul Page, who is alleged to have cheated colleagues and others out of their life savings, described his job as an "easy life".

Opening his defence at Southwark Crown Court yesterday, Mr Page, who has five children, said officers in the royal protection command could earn between £50,000 and £60,000 a year with overtime "for doing very little".

The 38-year-old, of Chafford Hundred, Grays, Essex, denies fraudulent trading, intimidation and threatening to take revenge on a victim who spoke to police. His wife, Laura, 42, was acquitted on Friday of charges she originally faced in connection with the case.

Speaking about his life with the Royal Family, Mr Page told the court how his shifts involved two hours on post, followed by at least an hour off-post. "You didn't work for a living," he said. "That is the bottom line. You have [even] got time to study... There was one officer and he [sold] porn. He used to get it from Holland, bring it back and sell it to officers while on duty.

"Everyone knew about it but no one would say anything. Officers were running poker games for money in down time. If people want to do that that is fair enough but senior officers let it go."

Mr Page said members of the royal household instilled a class culture in employees and royal protection officers were treated as a "necessary evil" who were expected to turn a blind eye to crime at Buckingham Palace.

He said: "You are not police officers any more. [There are] instances of domestic abuse in the royal household where the servants live and sleep in the Palace. Some have drink problems and fight. You are told not to get involved. [Royal protection officers] are treated like dirt – and that includes police officers on the gate.

"Some [members of the royal household] are very nice but the majority, they treat you like you are on a lower level [to them]." He said he believed money was "thrown at you" because the security level had to be kept up.

Mr Page told the court: "I shouldn't be saying what I am saying but it has to be done – I need you to understand the culture [at the Palace]."

The trial continues.

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