In a recent sting operation at Cheltenham Festival, a police officer on duty was caught and arrested for stealing money from a lost wallet that was handed over to him.

The officer, Matthew Rollason, was in his uniform when he was handed a wallet with two wads of cash by a member of the public at the races in March 2019.

In the hearing in Bristol Crown Court, it was stated that he had removed one of the cash bundles which had around  £100 prior to handing the item to the lost property section at the festival.

Two days later, when an integrity test was carried out on him by undercover officers from his force’s anti-corruption unit, he failed the test. He was handed a purse containing  £200 in cash.

Footage from the CCTV camera revealed that he had removed the notes before handing the purse over to the event’s lost property area.

Judge Michael Longman suspended Rollason for two years and sentenced him to 12 months in prison. Additionally, he was also ordered to pay £300 in compensation and £300 in prosecution costs.

“These offences were as inexplicable as they were inexcusable,” the judge told Rollason.

“At the time, you were on duty at Cheltenham Races. Someone lost a wallet and it was handed to you.

“You took it to lost property but you stole it seems about £100 from it.

“An integrity test was carried out which you failed, stealing £200 from a purse handed in by someone who was in fact another police officer.

“It is difficult to think of a more egregious breach of trust than a police officer, on duty, in uniform, stealing money entrusted to him by one member of the public and belonging to another.”

The judge also ordered Rollason a rehabilitation activity to be carried out for 18 months and follow a curfew between 11pm and 7am for six months.