Court hears that PCs ate evidence at Baldock crime scene

POLICE officers tucked in to pizza at a crime scene- not realising the snack was evidence in a torture case, the Old Bailey heard.

The PCs bought the two deep pans for a reduced price when the delivery boy got no answer at the address in Baldock he had been sent to.

They finished off the Domino’s takeaway and dumped the empty boxes in the back of their police car.

But the pizzas had been ordered by a torture gang, who had been holed up in a house where the police were standing outside, the court heard.

Sally Meaking-McLeod, prosecuting, said: “The officers had eaten the evidence.”

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The gang had ordered the food while allegedly holding a drug dealer hostage in Woodland Way on April 21 this year.

The victim was beaten, bound and gagged and tied to a chair, then battered across the face with frying pans, the court heard.

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The victim managed to escape through a window four hours into the ordeal before the food arrived.

When the Domino’s delivery boy arrived, the gang, said to include Anthony Costello, 42, and Darren Barker, 35, had fled.

Officers were already outside because the injured man had raised the alarm at a nearby building site.

Ms Meaking-McLeod said several officers shared the pizzas “not realising it was linked to the incident” they were investigating.

The two men were arrested at South Mimms service station on the M25 on April 27. Costello was held in Hitchin three days later on April 30.

Costello, of Woodland Way, Baldock, and Barker, of Hemming Way, Watford, deny false imprisonment, robbery, grievous bodily harm with intent, and assault.

The trial continues.

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