Police helicopter pilots found not guilty of videoing topless sunbathers

Benjamin Kentish
Friday 04 August 2017 16:18
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The helicopter was used to film people sunbathing on three separate occasions
The helicopter was used to film people sunbathing on three separate occasions

Two serving police officers and two police pilots accused of using a force helicopter to film naked sunbathers and people having sex have been cleared of misconduct.

The South Yorkshire crew were on trial accused of videoing a couple having sex on their garden patio and filming people sunbathing topless in their gardens on three separate occasions.

Matthew Lucas, 42, and Lee Walls, 47, who are both serving officers, and pilots Matthew Loosemore, 45, and Malcom Reeves, 64, had all denied charges of misconduct in a public office.

They were charged after a fifth officer, Adrian Pogmore, 51, recorded the footage. Pogmore, who was the only person in the helicopter during all four of the incidents, had earlier admitted four counts of misconduct in a public office.

During a three-week trial at Sheffield Crown Court, the other defendants claimed they were unaware of what their colleague was doing.

That claim was upheld by the jury, which cleared them of all charges after deliberating for four hours.

Pogmore, who has already been sacked by South Yorkshire Police, will be sentenced next week.

Prosecuting, Richard Wright QC told the jury that the crew had "used the unique viewing position afforded to them, together with the powerful video camera with which the helicopter is equipped, to video members of the public engaged in private activities in a gross violation of their privacy."

In one incident, Pogmore filmed his swinger friends having sex on their patio. The "brazen" couple "put on a show" and waved at the helicopter, Mr Wright told the court.

"You may hope that the police helicopter is chasing down criminals and keeping the community safe", he continued. "You may never imagine that in fact it is being used to film a pair of swingers in the throes of sexual passion for the entertainment of the crew.”

However, lawyers for the defendants said Pogmore was solely responsible for the recordings, which had been made without the knowledge of his colleagues.

One woman who was filmed sunbathing naked with her daughters in her garden said she felt "sick" when she found out what had happened and it was "a complete and utter violation" of her privacy.

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