Former police officer sentenced for theft offences following ACU investigation
By Bethany Winter | 7th August 2020
A former police officer who admitted to taking money from two wallets which had been handed in has been sentenced at court.
The first wallet belonged to a member of the public and the second theft related to an integrity test by the Constabulary's anti-corruption unit (ACU).
Crime operations ex-police constable Matthew Rollason, aged 38 and from Cheltenham, was charged with the offences last year after they took place on March 12 and March 14 2019.
At Bristol Crown Court, he was sentenced to 12-months imprisonment suspended for two years, concurrent on each count, and ordered to pay compensation to the two victims and prosecution costs.
On 12 March last year, while at the Cheltenham Festival, a member of the public handed in a lost wallet which contained money to a uniformed officer.
Rollason later admitted to taking money from that wallet before it was handed in as lost property.
The Constabulary's ACU used a plain clothes officer to hand in a lost wallet to Rollason containing £200 while at Cheltenham races two days later, on 14 March.
The court heard how he took the money from the wallet, leading him to be arrested and charged with the two offences following an investigation led by the ACU.
Rollason resigned as a police officer in June last year.
Later that month a fast track disciplinary hearing, chaired by the Chief Constable, concluded that had he not already resigned he would have been dismissed on the grounds of gross misconduct.
Rollason was ordered to pay £100 in compensation to the first victim and £200 to the Constabulary. Curfew restrictions were also applied to him.
Following the sentencing Deputy Chief Constable Jon Stratford said: "The public must be able to trust the honesty and integrity of all police officers that they come into contact with.
"This officer abused that trust. His actions were deplorable and shameful both in the eyes of the public, those currently serving with the police, and those officers and staff that have previously served with this Constabulary with pride.
"The Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU) has the capacity and capability to conduct covert operations where we suspect staff are acting in a corrupt fashion.
"This case demonstrates our determination to identify and prosecute dishonest members of staff and exit them from the organisation."
The court heard how Rollason had been experiencing difficult family circumstances at the time, but that he was not short of money.
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