A POLICE officer won a trolley dash after smuggling a plastic carrier bag from his local superstore into Prince Charles' birthday garden party at Buckingham Palace.

Guests at the Palace, dressed in their finery, looked on bemused as Sergeant Dave Clarke took out his bag from Barry’s Bargain Superstore, in Consett, and proudly posed for a picture.

The Northern Echo:

Having enjoyed canapes at the Prince’s 70th birthday party, Sgt Clarke decided to do the trolley dash in aid of a foodbank at Pact House, a community hub, in Stanley.

Stanley’s neighbourhood police sergeant said: “Barry’s Bargain Superstore challenged customers to get their bags to the most unusual place for a prize. I got a call from Buckingham Palace saying I had been invited to a garden party.

“I thought it was a wind-up at the start. I don’t know why I was invited. Maybe it was my good looks.”

He added: “I took the bag into the party in my back pocket. I was planning the photograph, hoping to get Prince Charles in the background as he came out of his mum’s house.

“However, I was quite aware there were snipers on the roof of the palace. As I was pulling the bag out of my pocket and opening it I could feel the cross-hairs on the back of my neck. It went off without any hitches, though.

“I think people were quite bemused with what I was doing. They were all dressed in their finery and here I was with my carrier bag.

“It was two days after Meghan and Harry’s wedding. It was her first foray.”

He added: “It was fantastic. There were people from some great organisations, including the Prince’s Trust.

“I never got to meet him. But it was a great day out. We are very proud of the royal family and it was nice to visit.”

Sgt Clarke said store owner Barry Kingston had always been very supportive of Pact House and had provided “loads of stuff” already.

Mr Kingston said: “Up to 150 people took part in the competition. We had customers sending pictures of our carrier bags all over the world – from Hong Kong, Disneyland, an oil rig and on ocean liners.

“We even had someone scuba diving in the Gulf of Mexico with one of our carrier bags under the water.

“We thought Sgt Clarke’s picture at Buckingham Palace was the best. Plus it was in aid of a good cause."

Sgt Clarke, who was given two minutes to fill his trolley, aimed to get food with protein to add to the mix of Pact House’s food bank.

He said: “I aimed to get things like Fray Bentos pies, tinned ham and chicken and corned beef, so they can mix it with staple foods people usually donate, which quite often are pastas and carbohydrates.

“Tuna is also a favourite for children’s sandwiches.”

“People who come for food parcels have families of up to six to fee. It is very difficult.”

Sgt Clarke has now challenged other businesses and organisations to do trolley dash for Pact House.

He said: “You you can get a lovely trolley of food at a Barry’s for a very reasonable price.

“A trolley like this will make a difference to 20 families, who are really gong through the crunch at the moment.

“Pact House does up to 25 food parcels a week. Some mothers have up to six children to fee. It’s all by donations.”