Policeman 'planted drugs on colleague'

A POLICE officer planted cannabis resin in the desk of a colleague because he was jealous of his promotion prospects, a court has heard.Stuart Hayward-Rutter, 46, of Wenhaston, near Halesworth, is accused of placing cannabis in a desk drawer belonging to Detective Constable Mark Beresford at Leiston Police Station and falsifying a memo about the drug to the force's complaints and discipline department.

By David Lennard

A POLICE officer planted cannabis resin in the desk of a colleague because he was jealous of his promotion prospects, a court has heard.

Stuart Hayward-Rutter, 46, of Wenhaston, near Halesworth, is accused of placing cannabis in a desk drawer belonging to Detective Constable Mark Beresford at Leiston Police Station and falsifying a memo about the drug to the force's complaints and discipline department.

Both incidents are alleged to have happened between August 12 and August 16, 1999, a jury at Norwich Crown Court was told yesterday.

Det Con Beresford was suspended for two months while an investigation took place into the allegation outlined in the memo - that he used the cannabis to entice criminals he charged to become informants.

Hayward-Rutter, who is no longer employed by Suffolk police, was a detective constable working alongside Mr Beresford at Leiston before transferring to the Special Branch office at the force's Martlesham Heath headquarters, when the offence is alleged to have taken place. He denies attempting to pervert the course of justice by planting the cannabis.

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Stephen Harvey, prosecuting, told the court that Hayward-Rutter was jealous that Det Con Beresford had been made acting sergeant and clearly disliked being overshadowed by him.

Mr Harvey said that the memo outlining the allegations against Det Con Beresford had originated from the Special Branch office.

“This is an office with extremely strict security measures so that only Special Branch officers can enter,” he said.

Giving evidence, Det Con Beresford said that he and Hayward-Rutter had a good working relationship at first, but it had later deteriorated.

He said that the atmosphere between the two officers was “tense” and they avoided speaking to each other whenever Hayward-Rutter visited Leiston after transferring to Special Branch.

Det Con Beresford said he thought it was a joke when he was first accused of having the cannabis in his desk drawer but was shocked to be suspended from duty.

“A few days after my suspension I got a telephone call at my home from Hayward-Rutter that sent a shiver down my neck,” he said.

“He wanted to discuss my suspension and the drugs allegation and that intrigued me because of what had gone on before.”

Det Con Beresford said that during their conversation Hayward-Rutter “had a smile on his lips” and he reported his suspicions about him to Detective Sergeant Jim Keeble, of Leiston CID, who had also been implicated in the “memo” as he had been accused of turning a blind eye to what was going on.

Detective Chief Inspector Elizabeth Pettman, of the complaints and discipline department of Suffolk police, told the court she had found the memo on her desk on Monday, August 16, 1999, but had no idea how it got there.

Later that day, she went to Leiston Police Station with other officers and discovered the cannabis resin in the drawer belonging to Det Con Beresford.

The memo containing the allegations had been signed by another Leiston police officer but, when he was shown it, the officer said he had not sent it and it was not his signature.

Ms Pettman, now a superintendent, said an investigation into the allegations and the memo itself was carried out but on September 30, 1999, the case was sent to a senior officer to review as there was no evidence of who was responsible for sending it.

Det Con Beresford's suspension was then lifted and he returned to work.

Under cross-examination from Robin Sellers, defending, Supt Pettman admitted there had been “long periods of inactivity” before Hayward-Rutter was charged with the offence in 2005.

The case continues today

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