Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/12/03/herts_police_dominos_pizza_evidence/

Herts cops 'ate the evidence' at scene of crime, court told

Hungry plods scoffed critical pizzas in major case

By Jane Fae Ozimek

Posted in Law, 3rd December 2010 11:03 GMT

Police may occasionally be accused of losing, abusing or even tampering with evidence – but eating it is almost certainly a first for any police force anywhere in the UK.

Such was the allegation made by prosecutors at the Old Bailey, in respect of a case of torture and intimidation alleged to have taken place earlier this year in Hertfordshire.

The evidence in question turned up in the form of two deep pan pizzas that a Domino’s delivery boy was unsuccessfully trying to deliver to the suspect’s house, when the police arrived at the scene. The victim had escaped: the suspects had fled. What then is any self-respecting police officer to do, except bag – or in this case, doggy-bag – the evidence?

According to prosecutor Sally Meaking-McLeod, whose remarks were reported by the Telegraph, all those involved in the incident had left the house by the time the police arrived – but not before an order had been placed at the local pizzeria. By the time the police arrived, the only person left on the scene was a somewhat confused delivery boy, who decided to cut his losses by selling the pizzas to the police at a reduced rate.

The officers then “ate the evidence”.

Well, not quite. Ms Meaking-McLeod explained to the court that key details were written on the pizza box including the suspect’s address, the time of order and a mobile phone number.

She said: “Because the pizza delivery man could not deliver the pizzas, the police who were at the scene did not realise the significant potential of this evidence, so they offered to buy the pizzas at a reduced rate for themselves and ate them, putting the boxes in the back of a police car”.

“It was only subsequently that the pizza boxes were found in the back of a police car and a phone number was found on one of them and it came to light that the officers had eaten the evidence.”

The pizza boxes were indeed discovered in the boot of a Vauxhall Astra squad car the next day. They were then seized and finally turned up in court on Wednesday as evidence allegedly placing the accused at the scene of the crime. ®