Pretend police officer warned of fake terrorist incident and that ISIS were in Sainsbury’s in King’s Lynn

Darren Witham. Picture: Submitted

Darren Witham. Picture: Submitted - Credit: Archant

A man who pretended to be a police officer told a group of people that terror group ISIS were in a supermarket, King's Lynn Magistrates Court heard.

Darren Witham, 44, of London Road, King's Lynn, pleaded guilty to impersonating a police officer, common assault and possession of cannabis.

Fred Sagoe, prosecuting, said Witham approached a group of people in Sainsbury's car park in King's Lynn town centre on November 22 and told them he was an off duty police officer.

The court heard Witham showed the group some forms of ID and demonstrated self defence moves on one of the victims by applying pressure points on his hand and face.

Mr Sagoe said the victim did not consent to it, adding: 'He let him do it because he thought he was a police officer.'

The court heard how Witham told the group that there was a terrorist incident and that ISIS were in Sainsbury's before searching a female of the group.

Mr Sagoe said that the following day, one of the victims 'felt that things weren't quite right' and so he Googled 'King's Lynn impersonating a police officer' and found a news article with Witham's photo.

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Witham had been found guilty of two counts of blackmail in 2012 after pretending to be a police officer, the court was told.

After his arrest on November 24, Witham dropped a plastic packet containing four grammes of cannabis.

In a police interview, Witham presented a pre-prepared statement stating that he was in the car park and spoke to people who were driving dangerously but denied telling them he was a police officer.

Alison Muir, defending, said Witham approached the youngsters in the car park because they were being 'rowdy'.

She said: 'He said to them he was a police officer and hoped that would put a better standing in their eyes and stop their rowdy behaviour. This was not in any way malicious.'

Chair of the bench, Louise Gayton, ordered Witham to pay £50 compensation to the victim of the common assault and handed him a sentence of eight weeks imprisonment, suspended for 12 months.

He was also ordered to pay £100 court costs and £115 victim surcharge but was given no separate penalty for the possession of cannabis.

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