A Metropolitan Police officer with 15 years’ experience has broken down in court as he admitted stealing £200 he believed had been handed in as lost property.
Robin Ruston was given the cash, a bag and a phone charger by an undercover officer to “test his integrity”.
But the 36-year-old kept the money and has been handed a 16-week prison sentence, suspended for 12-months.
He broke down in tears in court and said he had “ruined his good name, let down his colleagues, friends, partner and the public”.
Deputy Senior District Judge Tan Ikram said: “The degree of breach of trust in a case like this could not be higher.
“The circumstances of this case are an undercover police officer gave you lost property and he did so to test your integrity. And they don't do it randomly,” he said.
He added: “They were testing your integrity and you failed because you kept the money for yourself. If we can't trust our police officers who can we trust?”
Ruston’s lawyer Tom Doble said he declared bankruptcy after getting divorced in 2015 and is in “acute financial difficulty” with minus £43 in the bank.
“He took the money because he had a holiday booked with his children at the end of the week. He didn't want to be the dad who didn't have any money again for his children,” he said.
Ruston has been paying child support for three children with his ex-wife, and also provides for a child he has fathered with a new partner as well as her four children.
He has been ordered to pay £207 in court costs and a victim surcharge.