A police officer was today facing the prospect of losing his job after being convicted of fraud.
Pc Michael Hetherington, who was found guilty following a trial at Aberdeen Sheriff Court, provided a falsified service history for a second-hand car he was selling for £6,500.
The 27-year-old, who continues to be deployed in a non-operational role within Police Scotland, had denied the offence, which Sheriff Graham Buchanan described as “a pretty brazen fraud”.
Hetherington pretended the Vauxhall car had a full service history, predominantly by Peter Vardy, and that it had been serviced by the firm on April 27 2016.
He also claimed its timing belt and water pump had been replaced in March 2015.
The court heard the victim had sold the car on for a loss since this incident, which happened between April 17 and July 3 2016.
Defence agent John McLeod said Hetherington made it clear to the man he could walk away from the deal if he wasn’t happy, adding: “That’s not evidence of a fraudster at work.”
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Mr McLeod said his client was in employment but “as a result of this case, that employment will come to an end”.
Sentencing Hetherington, Sheriff Buchanan said: “I recognise of course, as was discussed with Mr McLeod, that a lot of what might be called ‘wheeling and dealing’ might go on in relation to the purchase of a second-hand car. But the law does prohibit the making of false statements, even in that context of second-hand car sales. I have to take a very serious view of the matter.”
Hetherington, whose address was given in court as care of Police Scotland, was fined £1,000 and ordered to pay the man he sold the car to £732.22 in compensation.
Chief Inspector Derek Hiley, of Police Scotland’s professional standards department said: “We note the conviction and sentencing result at Aberdeen Sheriff Court. Police Scotland expects high standards from officers and staff. A report on the full circumstances will now be prepared for the consideration of the deputy chief constable.”