A Croydon policeman who lied about having his iPhone stolen has avoided an immediate jail sentence.

Gareth Beard of Banstead Road, Caterham, claimed his mobile was stolen in McDonalds in the Whitgift Centre in April 2010 to get a free replacement.

The 35-year-old also entered his own crime report on the Met's Crime Reporting System (CRIS), to back up his fictious claim.

But suspicions were raised when CCTV from the McDonald's restaurant showed no trace of the officer.

The incident was reported to the Directorate of Professional Standards in June 2010, who launched an investigation but further inconsistencies in his story were found.

Southwark Crown Court heard he then changed the date of the alleged theft, but again it did not tally up with evidence gathered.

Beard denied fraud but was convicted on September 12, following a trial at the court.

He resigned from the police force the following day.

At Southwark Crown Court today he was setenced to six months in prison suspended for two years.