Police officer and gun expert falsely claimed money from upmarket Yorkshire hotels

Duffield advised hotels considering hosting shooting parties
Duffield advised hotels considering hosting shooting parties
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A former police constable has admitted misconduct in a public office by demanding payment from two hotels in Helmsley for advice about guns that he was meant to provide free of charge.

Paul Duffield, 55, formerly of North Yorkshire Police, also admitted firearms offences and had previously pleaded guilty to possessing ammunition without authority.

The Black Swan Hotel in Helmsley

The Black Swan Hotel in Helmsley

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He was appearing at Teesside Crown Court where his trial was due to begin until he admitted two counts of misconduct in a public office and two counts of possessing firearms without authority - in this case powerful air rifles found at his home in Easingwold, North Yorkshire.

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The defendant admitted claiming and receiving £393 from the Black Swan Hotel in Helmsley and attempting to claim money from the Feversham Arms Hotel in the same market town, both of which are close to moorland game shoots.

Duffield was a former police constable who took on a role as a civilian firearms enforcement officer with the force, the court heard.

It was understood Duffield provided advice to the hotels about shotguns, as the area is known for hosting shooting parties, then tried to bill them as a consultant, rather than providing the information for free.

The Feversham Arms in Helmsley

The Feversham Arms in Helmsley

James Gelsthorpe, defending, said Duffield was undergoing treatment for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder following an incident unrelated to these proceedings and that he was of hitherto good character.

Judge Sean Morris granted him bail and ordered a pre-sentence report, and warned Duffield he could be jailed.

He said: "The fact I am getting reports does not mean it won't be a custodial sentence."

He will be sentenced on March 27.

Back in 2002, Duffield, then working as a PC in Scarborough, was given a bravery award for disarming a youth who had stabbed himself three times with a carving knife before walking into the sea near the disused South Bay swimming pool in the middle of winter. The young man survived and Duffield and a colleague were honoured at the Police Federation's annual bravery awards. By the time he received his award, he had transferred to the firearms inquiry team in Malton.