South Yorkshire Police helicopter crew ‘flew too low’ when they filmed couple having sex in garden

A police helicopter crew breached aircraft height regulations when they filmed a couple having sex in their garden, an aviation expert has claimed.

Thursday, 28th February 2019, 13:37 pm
Updated Thursday, 28th February 2019, 13:42 pm
Lee Walls

Oliver Dinsmore, from the National Police Air Service, told a police misconduct hearing the crew on board the South Yorkshire Police helicopter on July 28, 2008 breached regulations by hovering at less than 500ft over the couple's home.

Mr Dinsmore said police helicopters need special permission to fly at a height of less than 500ft unless they are carrying out specialist operations.

Lee Walls

Data shown during the hearing showed the aircraft hovered at a height as low as just 162ft above the couple's home.

Mr Dinsmore also said there was nothing in the flight data which was 'consistent’ with a proactive search for nuisance motorbikes on a nearby pit top.

The South Yorkshire Police helicopter.

PC Matthew Lucas, a serving officer with the force, and former officer Lee Walls face a number of allegations that their conduct was a breach of the Standards of Professional Behaviour.

The hearing had previously heard that the crew on board that day, which included PC Lucas, failed to attend reports of a stolen scooter in Rotherham, and instead opted to film the couple having sex.

It also heard that Adrian Pogmore was jailed after admitting four charges of misconduct in a public office at Sheffield Crown Court in 2017.

Both PC Lucas and Walls were acquitted of a number of counts of misconduct in a public office.

PC Matthew Lucas

The panel also heard that on August 23, 2007, Mr Walls and Pogmore were part of a crew which filmed a woman sunbathing naked in her garden, alongside her teenage daughters who were wearing bikinis.

Mr Dinsmore said all the crew members would have been aware of what was happening on that day.

He said: "To initiate the turn there has to be communication over the intercom so that all three crew members are aware of what's happening at the time.

"No one crew member could do it alone in isolation."

The hearing continues and is expected to last around a further seven days.