A FORMER police constable has admitted misconduct in a public office by demanding payment from two hotels for advice about guns.

Paul Duffield, 55, formerly of North Yorkshire Police, also admitted firearms offences and had previously pleaded guilty to possessing ammunition without authority.

He was appearing at Teesside Crown Court where his trial was due to begin until he admitted two counts of misconduct in a public office and two counts of possessing firearms without authority - in this case powerful air rifles found at his home in Easingwold, North Yorkshire.

The Northern Echo:

The defendant admitted claiming and receiving £393 from the Black Swan Hotel in Helmsley, pictured above, and attempting to claim money from the Feversham Arms Hotel, below, in the same market town, which is close to game shoots on the moors.

The Northern Echo:

Duffield was a former police constable who took on a role as a civilian firearms enforcement officer with the force, the court heard.

It was understood Duffield provided advice to the hotels about shotguns, as the area is known for hosting shooting parties, then tried to bill them as a consultant, rather than providing the information for free.

James Gelsthorpe, defending, said Duffield was undergoing treatment for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder following an incident unrelated to these proceedings and that he was of hitherto good character.

Judge Sean Morris granted him bail and ordered a pre-sentence report, and warnedDuffield he could be jailed.

He said: "The fact I am getting reports does not mean it won't be a custodial sentence."

He will be sentenced on March 27.

After the hearing Assistant Chief Constable Amanda Oliver of North Yorkshire Police said: "The public have a right to expect the highest standards of integrity from anyone who works for the police service.

"The judge will pass sentence in March, but meanwhile I would like to thank everyone involved in this investigation for the prompt and decisive action they took in bringing this offender to court, once his activities were known."