Somerset

Sports Direct worker 'shaken' after PC basketball spat

Charlotte Cox Image copyright Charlotte Cox
Image caption Charlotte Cox said she was "really frightened" during the incident

A former Sports Direct worker who was threatened by an off-duty police officer in a spat over a basketball says the incident left her "shaken up."

Charlotte Cox, from Shepton Mallet, said the officer told her she had "picked the wrong person to disagree with," after she refused to sell him a ball which was actually lost property.

"He's changed the way I see male officers," she said.

The PC was found guilty of gross misconduct at a hearing and sacked.

The officer, whose name was redacted by the Avon and Somerset Police misconduct panel, saw the ball and claimed "finder's rights" in August 2018.

After being told it wasn't for sale, he flashed his warrant card and told Ms Cox "You, me, down to the police station".

The following day, the shop manager took the ball into Wells Police Station and complained about the officer's behaviour. In response, the PC accused him of theft and filed criminal accusations against him.

'Frightened'

Ms Cox, who now works as a teaching assistant, said she was "really frightened" by what happened.

"I was so surprised at how it escalated. He didn't raise his voice but I assumed I was about to be arrested.

"He told me that I had better get used to confrontation like this if I worked in retail.

"I was shocked that a police officer would act that way, he was blatantly abusing his power to get hold of something that wasn't his," she added.

At the hearing, Chairman Derek Marshall said the PC was "bullying, disrespectful and [he made] wholly disproportionate and inappropriate misuse of his position of authority as a police officer".

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