A KENT Police officer from Bexley carried out inappropriate computer checks on a man suspected of involvement in the £53m Securitas heist, a court heard.

PC Eileen Arthurs, 52, accessed records on Lee May in July 2004 and lied to colleagues about her reasons for wanting other checks made in relation to May in March last year, Maidstone Crown Court was told.

The grandmother-of-one was working in the community safety unit at North Kent police station in Northfleet when she requested a Police National Computer (PNC) check on a car connected to an alleged threat on May's life, a jury of seven men and five women heard.

The check was made on her behalf by another officer in what was a further example of Arthurs making inquiries for "purely personal" reasons, according to prosecutor Matthew Jewell.

May lived in the same house Arthurs used to in Wansunt Road, Bexley, and the pair were in contact by text the day of the PNC check on a black Audi Q7 on March 20 last year, the court was told.

May had the previous day reported to police the alleged threat to his life and was told by Arthurs early the next morning they would "speak later", the jury heard. In fact, the PC was arrested that afternoon on suspicion of misusing the PNC by claiming the check on the car was because she had seen it acting suspiciously in Bexley Park that morning on her way to work, the jury was told.

When questioned the following day, Arthurs - who had been stationed at Bluewater before transferring to Northfleet - admitted this was a "complete fabrication", the court heard.

Of a check made about May on another system in June 2005, Mr Jewell said: "Whatever was or wasn't viewed by the defendant she had no police reason to do so.

"We say this must have been an enquiry for purely personal reasons arising from her personal knowledge of Lee May."

She was also disciplined internally in 2007 over computer checks relating to May and told she must show a "higher degree of honesty and integrity with her colleagues," according to Mr Jewell.

May was known to police for a string of offences and had been suspected of involvement in the 2006 Securitas heist which was the biggest in British criminal history, the jury heard.

Arthurs denies five counts of misconduct in a public office.

The trial continues.