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  1. ITV Report

Ex policeman from Essex 'tried to sell story to Sun'

A former police constable from Essex is on trial at the Old Bailey accused of misconduct in a public office around September 6, 2010. Photo: PA Images

A former police constable from Essex has gone on trial accused of offering to sell information to the Sun about a "womanising and bullying" colleague, a court heard.

Darren Jennings, who worked for Wiltshire Police, is on trial at the Old Bailey accused of misconduct in a public office around September 6, 2010.

Prosecutor Oliver Glasgow told jurors that Jennings emailed a Sun reporter with information about his colleague Sergeant Mark Andrews, who had recently been arrested over his handling of a person in custody.

In the email, Jennings gave information about Sgt Andrews, who was married with children, saying he was well known for his promiscuity with colleagues, including a PCSO, Special Constable and an ex-PCSO, the court heard.

It was also alleged in the email that Sgt Andrews had taken part in a threesome with another male police officer and a female police officer, Mr Glasgow said.

According to Jennings, he regularly went to a strip bar in Salisbury and slept in the police station after nights out, the court heard.

The defendant also told the Sun reporter that the sergeant had used excessive force towards members of the public at Salisbury Police Station, the court heard.

On one occasion Jennings said that Sgt Andrews had slammed a woman's head against a concrete floor.

Asking for £10,000 for the information, Jennings told a Sun journalist: "I'm taking a massive risk in giving this information and have an enormous amount to lose by doing so if I am found out."

However, the story was never published and Jennings's contact only emerged after officers trawled through millions of emails in the Sun database as part of the phone hacking investigation, the court heard.

Although Jennings used a pseudonym in his email, police linked him to the Sun through his laptop and home phone records, jurors were told.

Mr Glasgow said Jennings, 41, of Saffron Walden, denies ever contacting the Sun saying he was "set up" by somebody else.

But the prosecutor said: "It is clear from the email sent by Darren Jennings to the (Sun journalist) that he was fully aware of the potential consequences of his actions.

"The leaking of information to the press in expectation of such financial gain in this way has a corrosive effect on public trust and confidence in the police as a whole. However, he did not care about this. All he cared about was his bank balance."

He went on: "Even Jennings himself recognises that the offer to sell scandal to a national newspaper is a gross breach of trust placed in police officers which is why he has sought to blame others for what he has done.

"His attempt to suggest that he has been the victim of a conspiracy which has seen one or more people plot against him to incriminate him in this sordid affair is just as desperate as it sounds.

"The truth of the allegations is that Jennings has now been found out and has no answer for what he has done."

The trial, which is expected to last three days, continues.