Two married constables working for Lancashire Police have been sentenced today (6 October 2017) for stealing police data about car crashes and selling it to claims firms for £363,000.
Nigel Mungur was sentenced to five years in prison and Nicola Mungur received a 12 month conditional discharge at Chester Crown Court. A third person, John Helton, was sentenced to two years in prison suspended for two years and ordered to carry out 300 hours of unpaid work.
The firms who were sold the data would use it to cold call people who had been in accidents and offer to get them compensation.
The police began an investigation in 2014 after people complained they were getting calls from law firms when they had not given their details to anyone other than the police. One man was even contacted by a claims firm before a police officer had arrived to investigate his report of a collision.
Over seven years Nigel Mungur accessed the personal data of individuals involved in road traffic collisions on 21,802 occasions. He set up a firm called the Personal Injury Company and used it to sell the stolen police data to claims companies. When the company licence was revoked in early 2009, he applied to set up another, paying the registration fee with a cheque signed by his wife to avoid the application being rejected.
John Helton was a contractor for a claims firm who was paid on the basis of cases he referred to the firm. Nigel Mungur passed the personal data onto him and he would sell it to the firm. The pair would then share the money paid out.
Nigel Mungur would upload up to 960 screen shots of confidential information from the police computer at a time to a virtual storage site and share a link to the images with Helton. The information included the time, date and place of collisions and the personal details of people reporting incidents to the police.
The CPS presented evidence that Helton received numerous screen shots and also phone evidence of the two discussing how much money they could make. In one message Mungur tells Helton that the “police systems are down”.
Nigel Mungur also sent text messages to his wife referring to payments received and how much money they would make in the coming year. In one message he complains to her that he is the one “taking all of the risks”.
At an earlier hearing Nigel Mungur pleaded guilty to misconduct in public office and conspiracy to convert criminal property. Nicola Mungur pleaded guilty to obtaining personal data and Helton admitted conspiracy to convert criminal property and conspiracy to commit unauthorised access to a computer.
Richard Riley from the CPS said:
“Nigel Mungur’s greed led him to take the leading role in stealing confidential information held on a police database and sell it for profit.
“Nicola Mungur was clearly aware of her husband's crimes and encouraged, connived and acquiesced in them by turning a blind eye and the pair reaped the financial rewards.
“The public expect a high standard of behaviour from the police but the Mungurs’ conduct fell short of their duty and now they are paying the price.”
Note to Editors
1. Richard Riley is a Senior Crown Prosecutor at the Crown Court Unit of CPS Mersey-Cheshire
2. Nigel Mungur (dob 29/09/1977) pleaded guilty to counts 1, 2, 3 and 4
Nicola Mungur (dob 23/04/1980) pleaded guilty to count 5 on
John Helton (dob 16/10/1979) pleaded guilty to counts 3 and 4
Count 1 - MISCONDUCT IN A JUDICIAL OR PUBLIC OFFICE
Count 2 - CONSPIRACY TO COMMIT MISCONDUCT IN A PUBLIC OFFICE, contrary to section 1(1) of the Criminal Law Act 1977.
Count 3 - CONSPIRACY TO CONVERT CRIMINAL PROPERTY, contrary to section 1(1) of the Criminal Law Act 1977.
Count 4 - CONSPIRACY TO COMMIT UNAUTHORISED ACCESS TO A COMPUTER, contrary to section 1(1) of the Criminal Law Act 1977.
Count 5 - OBTAINING PERSONAL DATA, contrary to sections 55(1), 55(3) and 60(2) of the Data Protection Act 1998