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Police officer accused of blackmailing gay men faces jail

Police officer accused of blackmailing gay men faces jail

Hands jail cell

A police officer is facing jail after being accused of blackmailing gay men who went to cruising spots.

The man, from Wijk bij Duurstede – a city in the central Netherlands, appeared in court after being charged with attempting to extort 37 men.

He sent 37 letters to the owners of cars spotted parked close to the cruising zones on the A1 and A27 roads, according to RTV Utrecht.

The suspect is said to have threatened them with telling their friends and families unless they paid him €1,000 ($1,100).

He is said to have used a colleague’s computer to find out about the car owners in the police registration system.

It is believed he checked out information about 80 cars.

Other officers noticed a surge in complaints from men who said they were being blackmailed after visiting a cruising zone in May 2015.

A further 20 men responded to an appeal for other victims to come forward.

The police officer was arrested in March 2016 and suspended from his job.

He said he was ‘sorry’ for his actions and that he ‘failed to oversee the consequences’.

The former officer faces two years in jail, with six months suspended.