October 16th, 2007 06:33 EST
In the UK Six men jailed for misconduct
Six men have been sentenced in connection with one of the most extensive investigations ever carried out by the Met's anti-corruption team.
Jeremy Young , a former Met Police PC, was jailed for 27 months for seven counts of conspiracy to cause unauthorised modification of computer material, conspiracy to defraud, six counts of conspiracy to intercept communications unlawfully, conspiracy to cause criminal damage to property, and aiding and abetting misconduct in a public office.
Scott Gelsthorpe, a former Met Police PC, was sentenced to 24 months for two counts of conspiracy to cause unauthorised modification of computer material, conspiracy to intercept communications unlawfully and aiding and abetting misconduct in a public office.
Gordon Bucher (a private investigator) received two months, John Matthews (a former Detective Sergeant) received 14 months, Gary Flanagan (a private investigator and ex-Detective Constable with Staffordshire Police) was sentenced to three months and Anthony Wood (a private investigator and an ex-Detective Sergeant with Staffordshire Police) received a 10-month sentence.
All were charged with misconduct offences.
The offences were committed between 1999 and 2004 and were identified by a pro-active, intelligence-led operation conducted by the Met's Anti Corruption Command.
Active Investigation Services (AIS) was established by Gelsthorpe and Young in 1999. Their associate David Carroll was also involved in running the business.
The court heard that AIS used sophisticated bugging and IT technology to hack into computers and tap landline telephones engage in corporate espionage and invade the privacy of members of the public.
Among the illegal services offered by the company were accessing medical records, bank details and phone bills as well as fitting bugs to people's cars.
The company charged clients between £5,000 and £7,000 to hack into computers and £6,000 to bug telephone lines.
The MPS was initially contacted by British Telecom, who had identified a number of devices attached to junction boxes, which they suspected were being used to intercept phone conversations.
AIS also used the services of a computer hacker based in the United States of America to monitor computer systems on behalf of their clients.
Following the arrest of Young in September 2004 and a search of his address evidence was discovered which suggested that AIS were illegally obtaining information from the Police National Computer.
Further inquiries linked the agency to Bucher, a private detective, who charged AIS £100 to obtain information from the PNC.
Evidence found during a search of Bucher's home suggested he was carrying out more PNC checks. An audit of the details requested found they had all been checked by Matthews, who was then an Acting Inspector with Staffordshire Police.
Following Matthews' arrest in April 2005 it became apparent he was carrying out checks on vehicles and people for two other private investigators, Flanagan and Wood.
By matching phone records with Matthew's PNC use officers found he had been speaking to private investigators on 128 occasions while using the system.
During the investigation the Anti Corruption Command arrested a total of 27 people and seized more than 60 computers containing in excess of one million emails.
David Carroll will be sentenced at a later date.
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