Helicopter films policeman 'sex-obsessed'

  • Published
Adrian PogmoreImage source, PA
Image caption,
Adrian Pogmore admitted misconduct in a public office

Adrian Pogmore was described in court as a "swinging and sex-obsessed air observer" who went to extraordinary lengths to spy on naked people and film them from above in a police helicopter.

The 51-year-old admitted making recordings of people sunbathing nude and swinger friends having sex in their back garden, with four other men cleared at Sheffield Crown Court of misconduct in a public office.

Recordings were made from the helicopter on four occasions between 2007 and 2012 while the crew were out on police assignments.

Pogmore was part of the South Yorkshire Police Air Support Unit when the aircraft was used to record footage.

On a July 2008 flight, two naturists were filmed as they sat outside a caravan on Candy Farm, a naturist campsite near Doncaster.

Matthew Lucas, a police officer who was cleared of misconduct, told police in his interview that it was "common knowledge" Pogmore visited naturist camps and was the "team deviant".

Image caption,
Footage was filmed from the helicopter of naturists at a campsite and a couple having sex on their patio

Colin Wood, who runs Candy Farm, described the filming of it as an "abuse of power".

"It was an invasion of privacy just the same as somebody going out in a public place with a hidden camera and filming up ladies' skirts," he said.

"When we're naked there's nothing wrong with it, we're not ashamed, it's just the secretive invasion of privacy that's upsetting."

The pair who were filmed from the helicopter are said not to have returned to the campsite since.

"It's an abuse of public equipment," Mr Wood added.

He said it was the sort of thing you might expect from a schoolboy, not a grown man.

Image caption,
The court was told a powerful video camera was used to film people

On the same day, Pogmore recorded a couple, who were his friends, having sex on their patio, the court heard.

At one point the naked woman is seen to wave at the aircraft, with the prosecution stating it was "no coincidence" that the helicopter flew above "while they brazenly put on a show".

A nude woman who was sunbathing with her daughters was also filmed from the aircraft in 2007, while other naked sunbathers were recorded in 2012.

Statements from all except the couple filmed having sex on the patio - who did not make a statement to police - said their privacy had been invaded.

Image caption,
Farm owner Colin Wood described the filming as a serious invasion of his guests' privacy

As well as the privacy aspect of the case, there is also the issue of reputational damage to the police.

Former Ch Supt Dick Rothwell said the misconduct was "as extreme as it gets" and would tarnish the image of the National Police Air Service (NPAS).

"This was not NPAS, this was the South Yorkshire Police Air Support Unit, but to most people a helicopter in the sky is just a police helicopter," he said.

"NPAS on a daily basis work their socks off. They work throughout the whole country, keeping people safe, finding people that are missing. Now all that, possibly, is tarnished."

Image caption,
Former Ch Supt Dick Rothwell is concerned about reputational harm to the National Police Air Service

Pogmore pleaded guilty to misconduct in a public office but Matthew Lucas, 42, Lee Walls, 47, Matthew Loosemore, 45, and Malcolm Reeves, 64, were all cleared by a jury of the same charge.

Mr Rothwell continued: "Whilst time will heal, initially people will have this case at the front of their minds; they will start to question for the first time what the police are doing in the air as opposed to just accepting it.

"For a period of time confidence will be reduced."

Outlining the severity of Pogmore's conduct, he said: "First of all it's a gross violation of the privacy of the individuals concerned, but also it's a gross misuse of a vital public resource.

"It's disgraceful, there's an element of trust in the public services and that trust has been grossly breached in this case. This just lets everybody down."