South Yorkshire Police helicopter crew ‘opted to film couple having sex in garden rather than help in search for stolen scooter’

The crew on board a South Yorkshire Police helicopter failed to attend reports of a stolen scooter and instead flew to the home of a couple and filmed them having sex in their garden, a police misconduct hearing heard.

PC Matthew Lucas, a serving officer with the force, and former officer Lee Walls face a number of allegations that their conduct was a breach of the Standards of Professional Behaviour.

Lee Walls

Lee Walls

The hearing heard how PC Lucas was on board the helicopter when it filmed a naked couple at a naturists' camp site near Doncaster on July 28, 2008.

Opening the hearing, Richard Wright QC said the crew on board that day then received a request to attend reports of a stolen scooter outside a row of shops in Rotherham.

He said they accepted the call but never attended and instead flew to the home of a couple who were 'engaged in sexual activity' in their garden.

PC Lucas was the 'left air observer' on board the helicopter that day, which Mr Wright said would mean he was controlling the camera 'under normal operations'.

Matthew Lucas

Matthew Lucas

Footage shot from the helicopter and shown during the hearing showed the couple having sex in the garden.

Mr Wright said: "The crew accepted the job but never attended to assist in the search for the stolen scooter but instead they flew over a pit stop to film a couple engaged in sexual activity."

PC Lucas faces nine allegations that his conduct amounted to a breach of the Standards of Professional Behaviour in respect of Duties and Responsibilities, Discreditable Conduct and Honest and Integrity.

Former officer Lee Walls also face three counts of the same allegation.

The South Yorkshire Police helicopter.

The South Yorkshire Police helicopter.

It is further alleged that they failed to report the misuse of the force helicopter and gave untruthful accounts when interviewed.

Both of their solicitors had argued that given they were acquitted of a number of counts of misconduct in a public office at Sheffield Crown Court in August 2017.

Jason Pitter QC, representing Walls, said Judge Peter Kelson QC, who heard the criminal trial, had reached 'positive findings of fact’ that Adrian Pogmore, who was jailed after admitting four charges of misconduct in a public office was ‘acting alone'.

But, after Mr Wright said there was important evidence which was not disclosed at the criminal trial, independent chairman Louisa Ciecora decidedthe hearing would proceed.

The panel was also shown footage of another flight which also saw PC Lucas acting as 'left air observer'.

And in another, when Walls was on board, a woman was filmed sunbathing naked in her garden along with her three children, who were wearing bikinis.

Mr Wright said: "We have been able to reconstruct the flight paths of these flights and it's simply not credible for the other crew members to not be aware of the recordings.

"The crew needs to work together to ensure the successful operation of the helicopter.

"During the process of the recordings, all the parties must have been aware of what was being filmed."

The hearing continues and is expected to last around eight days.