But at the opening of his malpractice hearing on Wednesday, PC Read claimed he did not intentionally scan the wrong barcode on the box of donuts while at Tesco Extra in Wisbech, Cambridgeshire, February 10.
The officer – on duty and in uniform at the time of the incident – claimed it was an “honest mistake”, based on “human error”.
He said he placed the white barcode sticker for the carrots on the side of the donut box to free his hand – and attempted to scan the box twice, to scan both barcodes .
But the second time the agent attempted to scan the box – to save the £ 9.95 for the donuts – the self-service failed to scan the code, and it didn’t realize.
He claims to have placed the box of donuts in the bagging area, thinking it had been scanned, then proceeded to pay for his groceries – not paying attention to the total price on the screen.
PC Read told the panel: “I had absolutely no intention of stealing this box of donuts.
“I am horrified to be in this situation I find myself in today, and I am embarrassed because it is not something that I normally would have done.
“I wasted everyone’s time being here today. I caused myself and my family a lot of stress, a lot of grief.
“It’s been nine months since I last worked when I should have been. ”
Opening the hearing, attorney Mark Ley-Morgan said PC Read accepted all other alleged facts relating to its actions in the Tesco Extra store that day.
He said: “The only question of fact is the state of mind of the officer.
“Was he planning to scan the bar code for the carrots, or did he make an honest mistake, as he says, and did he intend to scan the bar code for the donuts?” ”
The panel saw CCTV footage of PC Read’s movements in the Tesco store that day, from the time it entered the store shortly before 11:30 a.m.
He was seen selecting a box of a dozen Krispy Kreme donuts, before heading to the fruit and veg section, selecting two carrots and placing them in a small white Krispy Kreme bag.
PC Read then printed a barcode sticker for the carrots, which he held in his right hand.
He then left the camera to go to the sandwiches and meals section of the store, where he chose a sandwich and a drink.
At one point, off-camera, PC Read placed the carrot barcode sticker on the box of Krispy Kreme donuts, to free his right hand to choose a sandwich and a drink.
He told the panel that the carrots were purchased for one of his colleagues at the Wisbech Police Station, as part of a common joke between them.
He said: “I put the carrots in the Krispy Kreme bag to cover up the fact that the contents of the bag were part of a joke.
“Likewise, I didn’t want to put the sticker on the bag and effectively indicate what was inside, and therefore give the gag. ”
After selecting all of its items, PC Read approached the self-service checkouts at 11:30 am and began scanning what it was carrying.
CCTV footage shows him scanning the carrot barcode – affixed to the side of the Krispy Kreme box – first, and placing the bag of carrots in the bagging area.
He then scanned the sandwich and the drink, before appearing to attempt to scan the box of donuts again, to pay for the twelve sweet treats.
But CCTV shows him setting the box down on the metal crate and reaching into his left pocket, where he keeps his cell phone, he said.
PC Read said, “I can’t remember why I did this. I can only suggest that I felt it vibrate, and wanted to check if it was a call, or if it was text I could watch later. “
He then placed the box of donuts in the bagging area, and proceeded to the payment step for his groceries.
He said, “I didn’t check the screen to see if the donuts had been scanned.
“I wish I had done it now. I wish I had paid more attention to what was otherwise an ordinary experience – going into the store, scanning the items, then paying.
PC Read also said he had not paid attention to the total amount displayed on the screen – which ended up reading just over £ 4, compared to just over £ 14.
He said, “I didn’t feel I had to check the price because I was subconsciously aware that the transaction was going to be within the contactless payment limit.
“I’m not saying the price wasn’t on the screen. I just didn’t watch because I was following the instructions on how to pay. ”
PC Read added that a receipt was automatically printed after paying, and he took it with him – but thinks he canned it right out of the store, or soon after.
He said: “I had no reason to look at the receipt before throwing it away.
“Then I went back to the Wisbech police station, took the carrots to the sergeant’s office and handed over the bag of carrots.
“We laughed about it, he said choice words, and I left his office, all smiles and laughs.
The hearing continues.