East Northants Police officer sacked over sale of ghoulish Auschwitz barbed wire on eBay

A police officer who was discovered selling artefacts from a Nazi concentration camp online has been fired.

Tuesday, 26th November 2019, 10:42 am
Updated Tuesday, 26th November 2019, 12:38 pm

PC Matt Hart was found to be selling barbed wire and other relics from the WWII concentration camp on eBay in 2018.

A misconduct panel said that although they believed he was not a Nazi sympathiser, he had shown a lack of judgement which was ‘not fully acknowledged’ by the officer.

Although the sale of such items is legal in the UK, it is not lawful in many parts of Europe and the removal of relics from Auschwitz Birkenau is illegal in Poland.

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The former East Northants best bobby, who was later moved to a desk job by the force, was thought to be running the sickening sideline with a female relative.

The pair sold items including ‘fence insulators’ and barbed wire along with letters confirming the authenticity of the shocking lots.

After his auctions were uncovered by a Jewish Chronicle investigation, Northants Police said that they would not take action against him as he hadn’t done anything that was against the law - but force bosses admitted that his actions had moral and ethical concerns.

However, they subsequently decided to bring disciplinary proceedings against PC Hart and a panel met last week to consider four allegations relating to the selling of historical items relating to the Second World War, specifically items connected to Auschwitz Birkenau and the Nazi Third Reich. It was also alleged that PC Hart had also sold knives.

The panel outcome, published this morning (Tuesday, November 26) found that such activity was not authorised by Northamptonshire Police and contravened his declared business interest.

It was alleged that PC Hart breached the standards of professional behaviour relating to Discreditable Conduct and Orders and Instructions but no criminality on his part was suggested.

PC Hart was present at the hearing and denied the allegations.

But the panel found that his actions in relation to the sale of the artefacts amounted to gross misconduct. The allegation regarding the sale of weapons was found not proven.

The panel commented: ”The officer has a very respectable service record which we acknowledge together with an impressive set of commendations. He is not malicious or racist. He is not a danger to the public.

“The officer has shown an extreme lack of judgement and insensitivity which is not fully acknowledged.

”He sought to justify his conduct at every step and offered a rationale which cannot be accepted by the panel.

”He manipulated the listings...with a view to frustrating eBay policy over a significant period of time. He was not open and transparent with his own force.

“There is a failure to embrace [his own] responsibility and a lack of recognition which troubles us going forward.

“We lack faith in his judgement and compliance with matters requiring openness and self- regulation in future.”

The panel made clear that there was no evidence of any criminality by PC Hart nor was there any evidence that his activities were driven by any extremist right-wing views, sympathies with or allegiance to Nazi or Neo- Nazi ideology.

They accepted PC Hart has a genuine historical interest in this period of history but “what had been taken and done was insensitive and inappropriate in the extreme.”

PC Hart has been dismissed without notice but has a right of appeal.

The labour camp was the Nazi’s biggest such facility in Eastern Europe. It was the site of the murder of 1.1million people - most of them Jewish.