British Transport Police have been praised for cracking the case of attempted blackmail of Wayne and Colleen Rooney.
Railway police inManchestertook on the case after Colleen Rooney lost her camera at a concert inManchester. Two men found the camera and attempted to blackmail the pair.
British Transport Police, which has responsibility for policing the Manchester Evening News arena, was notified of the theft and attempted blackmail and launched an in-depth investigation.
The two men tried, unsuccessfully, to sell photographs from the camera to tabloid newspapers and celebrity magazines. When this failed the pair turned to blackmail and threatened to distribute the images if they were not paid £5,000.
Barry Platt (29) and Steven Edward Malcolm (42) were jailed for their part in the scheme to blackmail the famous couple. BTP used an undercover officer who arranged to meet Malcolm to exchange the images for cash. At the meeting Malcolm was arrested and further investigation – including detailed analysis of mobile phone usage – revealed the full plot.
Says Detective Inspector Andrea Rainey, ‘Platt and Malcolm conspired to extort money from Mr and Mrs Rooney by threatening to release images of their family. They approached both Mr Rooney’s agent and his employer in a bid to extort money.
‘I would like to thank everyone involved in this investigation for the thorough nature of their work which has resulted in these sentences. I would also like to thank those who turned down the approaches of Platt and Malcolm and who were so helpful in bringing this case to a successful conclusion.
‘Their actions were deplorable and the sentence handed down today should serve as a warning to anyone else who believes extortion, blackmail and other criminal behaviour is acceptable.’
Platt, was sentenced to two years imprisonment for the blackmail and a further 12 months, to run concurrently, for receiving stolen goods. Malcolm was sentenced to 20 months imprisonment for blackmail and 10 months, to run concurrently, for receiving stolen goods.