A police officer once described “the best in the county” has been exposed as a paedophile following a specialist unit’s investigation into online child abuse.
PC Lee Tatton starred in a fly-on-the-wall documentary Cops UK: Bodycam Squad in which he appeared to be a normal neighbourhood bobby helping rid the streets of Stoke-on-Trent from crime.
But this week the 54-year-old pervert, now suspended from the force, was in court admitting to a number of child sex offences.
TV production company Raw Cut spent several weeks shadowing PC Tatton and his fellow officers on a range of incidents including rescuing people from a flat fire and breaking up a brawl outside a city centre pub.
While arresting one of the men involved in the fight, PC Tatton ended up being accidentally pepper sprayed by a colleague.
It was hoped the programme – on UKTV’s Really channel – would give the public an insight into the work of the force.
Speaking at the time the show was premiered, PC Tatton told The Stoke Sentinel : “It was put to our shift about the camera crews coming out with us and I was happy to volunteer. After a while it became second nature explaining to them what we were dealing with."
He added: “I hope it will give people an insight into what we do and the things we have to deal with at 4am and 5am when most people are tucked up in bed.”
PC Tatton was featured in his local paper more than once in his former life on the right side of the law – for example dismantling a cannabis factory in 2008.
A later role would see him move to the Northern Resolution Centre - set up to deal with minor crime.
It was while working there in December last year that he was arrested following an investigation by the force's Operation Safenet team, a dedicated unit tasked with looking into online child abuse to protect vulnerable young people from the twisted perverts like Tatton.
He was immediately suspended from duty.
Appearing before Birmingham Crown Court Tatton, whose address was not disclosed, pleaded guilty to attempting to engage in sexual communication with a child and four counts of making an indecent photograph/pseudo-photograph of a child.
Locals immediately recognised the disgraced copper when his custody photo was released to the media by Staffordshire Police.
Paula Wilcock said: "Bodycam Stoke-on-Trent, he let down his colleagues. Shame on him."
And Mark Mullard added: "He was paraded on Bodycam Cops as the best in Staffordshire!"
Tatton remains on suspension subject to an internal force hearing and will be sentenced on November 2.