A 50-year-old Prestatyn police constable cleared by a crown court jury of shoplifting has been sacked by a disciplinary panel.

PC Mohammed Lachiri was found to have been guilty of gross misconduct by a three-man hearing at the North Wales police headquarters, Colwyn Bay.

This was because when confronted by security staff at Debenhams, Llandudno in December 2016 he’d given a false date of birth and address and denied he was a policeman. He'd been given an exclusion order by the store.

At the trial in July last year he'd blamed absent-mindedness for walking out of Debenhams with a £72 bottle of Giorgio Armani aftershave and said it was human error when he wasn’t thinking because of stress. He claimed it had been "the worst day of my life".

The jury heard that he was a prominent member of the Muslim community in North Wales, serving as an iman and was also a former college lecturer.

David Toal, a barrister representing the PC, who had been 17 years in the force, pleaded at yesterday's hearing for him to keep his job as an exceptional case because of personal mitigation and good character.

There had been personal difficulties and the barrister urged “a degree of compassion and understanding."

He said: "It has not involved the officer being convicted or cautioned for a criminal offence. Whilst dishonesty has been found it was not operational dishonesty."

Chairman Leighton Hughes announced that PC Lachiri was considered to have breached the standards of professional behaviour and there would be "dismissal without notice".

The PC, of Graham Avenue, Prestatyn, has the right to appeal to Police and Crime Commissioner Arfon Jones.

Detective Superintendent Dan Tipton said after the hearing: "It is always sad to lose a colleague from the service under such circumstances. However, the behaviour of this officer contradicts the high standards and values expected of all our staff, whether on or off duty. Such behaviour can never be tolerated by North Wales Police.

“The majority of our officers and staff uphold the highest standards and provide an exceptional service to local communities who quite rightly have high expectations of the police.”