Former mayor slams police officer over wife swap payment

Stephen Hirst

Stephen Hirst

First published in News
Last updated
Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard: Brendan McFadden
Wilts and Glos Standard by , Reporter

A FORMER mayor of Tetbury has hit out at a police officer who took payment from a journalist for a tip-off about a story which featured in The Sun about him amicably swapping wives with his neighbour.

The tip-off was discussed at the News of the World phone hacking trial this week, where the former editor of The Sun, Rebekah Brooks was questioned about emails she received from a journalist asking her to okay payments for the stories, including Stephen Hirsts’ wife swap in 2007.

The court at the Old Bailey, heard that in the wife swapping story, an email specifically sought Ms Brooks' approval to give money to a serving police officer who had provided "numerous tips in the past".

It also heard how Ms Brooks was questioned about whether the cash was transferred to Thomas Cook in Cirencester for the journalist to hand over to the anonymous source to avoid a paper trail.

Mr Hirst, who is currently a member of Tetbury Town Council, said: “Anybody that delves into people’s private lives and profits from it is committing a despicable act. Especially as it is somebody in such a respectable job like a police officer who you would expect would not get paid money for providing information about so called sensationalised stories."

Mr Hirst explained he was interviewed by police at Scotland Yard, several months ago as part of Operation Elveden, which comprises Scotland Yard's investigation into allegations that journalists paid public officials for information.

Mr Hirst assisted officers in trying to identify the policeman who received payment for the story about the wife swap but said neither he or police were able to confirm the identity of the officer.

Ms Brooks told the trial she would only have sanctioned payment to a serving public official for a story relating to his work if there was a very strong public interest.

Prosecutor Andrew Edis QC suggested that the money was transferred to Thomas Cook to be collected by a journalist in cash and handed over to anonymous sources to avoid a paper trail.

Ms Brooks said this system was often used for convenience when journalists were abroad in countries like Afghanistan and Iraq.

"And Cirencester?" Mr Edis asked, referring to the mayor story.

Susan Hirst, Stephen’s wife, who was part of the wife swap explained that the two couples first became aware of the media interest in the story when the four of them noticed they were being tailed by a journalist when on a Mother’s Day trip to Bath.

“If we were in Scunthorpe or anywhere else in the country nobody would be at all interested but it is because we were located near the Prince’s home of Highgrove,” she said.

Comments (23)

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7:40pm Fri 14 Mar 14

Crispin Mount says...

Corruption is rife....
Corruption is rife.... Crispin Mount
  • Score: 9

7:34am Mon 17 Mar 14

Supreme Chancellor Finis Valorum says...

Crispin Mount wrote:
Corruption is rife....
spot on ....

Tetbury District Council
Cotswold District Council

The lot of them
[quote][p][bold]Crispin Mount[/bold] wrote: Corruption is rife....[/p][/quote]spot on .... Tetbury District Council Cotswold District Council The lot of them Supreme Chancellor Finis Valorum
  • Score: 4

3:43pm Mon 17 Mar 14

Supreme Chancellor Finis Valorum says...

“If we were in Scunthorpe or anywhere else in the country nobody would be at all interested but it is because we were located near the Prince’s home of Highgrove,” she said .......

.......... or is it because you were part of a sordid, disgusting, filthy, repulsive, rancid nauseating little tête-à-tête that brought the office, and indeed name, of Mayor of Tetbury into disrepute … maybe??
“If we were in Scunthorpe or anywhere else in the country nobody would be at all interested but it is because we were located near the Prince’s home of Highgrove,” she said ....... .......... or is it because you were part of a sordid, disgusting, filthy, repulsive, rancid nauseating little tête-à-tête that brought the office, and indeed name, of Mayor of Tetbury into disrepute … maybe?? Supreme Chancellor Finis Valorum
  • Score: -2

6:58pm Mon 17 Mar 14

AnonAgain says...

Swapping wife's what? Or did you mean wives?
Swapping wife's what? Or did you mean wives? AnonAgain
  • Score: 3

12:31am Tue 18 Mar 14

kjag23 says...

It's appalling how things like "Wife's" can be published in a public newspaper (or its site) without being picked up.
No wonder there are semi-literate kids about when mistakes like these are so 'normal'.
It's appalling how things like "Wife's" can be published in a public newspaper (or its site) without being picked up. No wonder there are semi-literate kids about when mistakes like these are so 'normal'. kjag23
  • Score: 1

2:13am Tue 18 Mar 14

Union Man says...

Cllr Hirst has paid a high price for his actions, he got elected to CDC, twice, poor chap. and he had to serve as Tetbury Mayor, surely enough is enough?
Cllr Hirst has paid a high price for his actions, he got elected to CDC, twice, poor chap. and he had to serve as Tetbury Mayor, surely enough is enough? Union Man
  • Score: 2

7:04am Tue 18 Mar 14

Supreme Chancellor Finis Valorum says...

Union Man wrote:
Cllr Hirst has paid a high price for his actions, he got elected to CDC, twice, poor chap. and he had to serve as Tetbury Mayor, surely enough is enough?
'Nuff said ...... immoral the lot of them
[quote][p][bold]Union Man[/bold] wrote: Cllr Hirst has paid a high price for his actions, he got elected to CDC, twice, poor chap. and he had to serve as Tetbury Mayor, surely enough is enough?[/p][/quote]'Nuff said ...... immoral the lot of them Supreme Chancellor Finis Valorum
  • Score: -1

1:54pm Tue 18 Mar 14

Rex Cooper says...

Supreme Chancellor Finis Valorum wrote:
“If we were in Scunthorpe or anywhere else in the country nobody would be at all interested but it is because we were located near the Prince’s home of Highgrove,” she said .......

.......... or is it because you were part of a sordid, disgusting, filthy, repulsive, rancid nauseating little tête-à-tête that brought the office, and indeed name, of Mayor of Tetbury into disrepute … maybe??
Are you by any chance a Daily Mail journalist or reader ?
[quote][p][bold]Supreme Chancellor Finis Valorum[/bold] wrote: “If we were in Scunthorpe or anywhere else in the country nobody would be at all interested but it is because we were located near the Prince’s home of Highgrove,” she said ....... .......... or is it because you were part of a sordid, disgusting, filthy, repulsive, rancid nauseating little tête-à-tête that brought the office, and indeed name, of Mayor of Tetbury into disrepute … maybe??[/p][/quote]Are you by any chance a Daily Mail journalist or reader ? Rex Cooper
  • Score: 3

8:56pm Tue 18 Mar 14

Col Mustard says...

So no denial from the former mayor then as to the wife swapping allegations or threats of legal action then ..........so why would the Police have known anything about ? I think the public need to know!

Maybe the wife wanted to swap the ex mayor for a set of fetching tea towels. However to be fair he does have the best attendance record for a Cllr...

Intrigued by the phrase " Mother’s Day trip "..... is it wife swapper code for something!
So no denial from the former mayor then as to the wife swapping allegations or threats of legal action then ..........so why would the Police have known anything about ? I think the public need to know! Maybe the wife wanted to swap the ex mayor for a set of fetching tea towels. However to be fair he does have the best attendance record for a Cllr... Intrigued by the phrase " Mother’s Day trip "..... is it wife swapper code for something! Col Mustard
  • Score: 2

1:07am Wed 19 Mar 14

Union Man says...

Perhaps Stephen's real offence was to push the Lib Dems into 3rd p,ace in the 2011 election, Cons 2 Ind 1 Lib Dems o zero, zilch, none.
Oh what humilliation! eh col?
Perhaps Stephen's real offence was to push the Lib Dems into 3rd p,ace in the 2011 election, Cons 2 Ind 1 Lib Dems o zero, zilch, none. Oh what humilliation! eh col? Union Man
  • Score: 0

8:20am Wed 19 Mar 14

Supreme Chancellor Finis Valorum says...

Rex Cooper wrote:
Supreme Chancellor Finis Valorum wrote:
“If we were in Scunthorpe or anywhere else in the country nobody would be at all interested but it is because we were located near the Prince’s home of Highgrove,” she said .......

.......... or is it because you were part of a sordid, disgusting, filthy, repulsive, rancid nauseating little tête-à-tête that brought the office, and indeed name, of Mayor of Tetbury into disrepute … maybe??
Are you by any chance a Daily Mail journalist or reader ?
Why would you think that Rex?

You think that the former Mayors behaviour is appropriate do you?
[quote][p][bold]Rex Cooper[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Supreme Chancellor Finis Valorum[/bold] wrote: “If we were in Scunthorpe or anywhere else in the country nobody would be at all interested but it is because we were located near the Prince’s home of Highgrove,” she said ....... .......... or is it because you were part of a sordid, disgusting, filthy, repulsive, rancid nauseating little tête-à-tête that brought the office, and indeed name, of Mayor of Tetbury into disrepute … maybe??[/p][/quote]Are you by any chance a Daily Mail journalist or reader ?[/p][/quote]Why would you think that Rex? You think that the former Mayors behaviour is appropriate do you? Supreme Chancellor Finis Valorum
  • Score: -1

8:45am Wed 19 Mar 14

Jessica Rabbit says...

Sordid, disgusting, filthy, repulsive, rancid????? Supreme Chancellor get off your high horse.... This is their life and their choice.... they are consenting adults and why it is anyone's business is beyond me. I hope they all had fun!
Sordid, disgusting, filthy, repulsive, rancid????? Supreme Chancellor get off your high horse.... This is their life and their choice.... they are consenting adults and why it is anyone's business is beyond me. I hope they all had fun! Jessica Rabbit
  • Score: 4

9:52am Wed 19 Mar 14

watchman_28 says...

Rex Cooper wrote:
Supreme Chancellor Finis Valorum wrote:
“If we were in Scunthorpe or anywhere else in the country nobody would be at all interested but it is because we were located near the Prince’s home of Highgrove,” she said .......

.......... or is it because you were part of a sordid, disgusting, filthy, repulsive, rancid nauseating little tête-à-tête that brought the office, and indeed name, of Mayor of Tetbury into disrepute … maybe??
Are you by any chance a Daily Mail journalist or reader ?
If you've noticed any of Supreme Chancellor Finis Valorum's other comments you'll have seen he/she's a horrible, bigoted, homophobe. I wouldn't pay him much mind.
[quote][p][bold]Rex Cooper[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Supreme Chancellor Finis Valorum[/bold] wrote: “If we were in Scunthorpe or anywhere else in the country nobody would be at all interested but it is because we were located near the Prince’s home of Highgrove,” she said ....... .......... or is it because you were part of a sordid, disgusting, filthy, repulsive, rancid nauseating little tête-à-tête that brought the office, and indeed name, of Mayor of Tetbury into disrepute … maybe??[/p][/quote]Are you by any chance a Daily Mail journalist or reader ?[/p][/quote]If you've noticed any of Supreme Chancellor Finis Valorum's other comments you'll have seen he/she's a horrible, bigoted, homophobe. I wouldn't pay him much mind. watchman_28
  • Score: 2

12:07pm Wed 19 Mar 14

oldlongdog says...

What a lot of ill-informed nonsense! There was no 'wife swapping' in the silly, salacious way that Sun readers and journalists understand the term. This was a story of two couples that knew each other very well and discovered they would all be happier with different living arrangements. It happens more often than people think but, of course, the small-minded and infantile sections of society with so little else to occupy their lives, infer sordid activity where none has actually occurred.

I was Deputy Mayor of Tetbury at the time and was contacted by the Sun for a comment. I told them they had no story, it wasn't what they thought it was, Prince Charles doesn't even live within the electoral boundary for Tetbury and that four people who had been less than happy were now very happy. I told them to they ought to check their facts before ruining people's otherwise pretty ordinary lives by splashing their febrile imaginings all over the front pages.
What a lot of ill-informed nonsense! There was no 'wife swapping' in the silly, salacious way that Sun readers and journalists understand the term. This was a story of two couples that knew each other very well and discovered they would all be happier with different living arrangements. It happens more often than people think but, of course, the small-minded and infantile sections of society with so little else to occupy their lives, infer sordid activity where none has actually occurred. I was Deputy Mayor of Tetbury at the time and was contacted by the Sun for a comment. I told them they had no story, it wasn't what they thought it was, Prince Charles doesn't even live within the electoral boundary for Tetbury and that four people who had been less than happy were now very happy. I told them to they ought to check their facts before ruining people's otherwise pretty ordinary lives by splashing their febrile imaginings all over the front pages. oldlongdog
  • Score: 5

1:07pm Wed 19 Mar 14

Supreme Chancellor Finis Valorum says...

watchman_28 wrote:
Rex Cooper wrote:
Supreme Chancellor Finis Valorum wrote:
“If we were in Scunthorpe or anywhere else in the country nobody would be at all interested but it is because we were located near the Prince’s home of Highgrove,” she said .......

.......... or is it because you were part of a sordid, disgusting, filthy, repulsive, rancid nauseating little tête-à-tête that brought the office, and indeed name, of Mayor of Tetbury into disrepute … maybe??
Are you by any chance a Daily Mail journalist or reader ?
If you've noticed any of Supreme Chancellor Finis Valorum's other comments you'll have seen he/she's a horrible, bigoted, homophobe. I wouldn't pay him much mind.
I will take that as a compliment, Watchman.

Thank you.

But if only you knew the truth .............
[quote][p][bold]watchman_28[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Rex Cooper[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Supreme Chancellor Finis Valorum[/bold] wrote: “If we were in Scunthorpe or anywhere else in the country nobody would be at all interested but it is because we were located near the Prince’s home of Highgrove,” she said ....... .......... or is it because you were part of a sordid, disgusting, filthy, repulsive, rancid nauseating little tête-à-tête that brought the office, and indeed name, of Mayor of Tetbury into disrepute … maybe??[/p][/quote]Are you by any chance a Daily Mail journalist or reader ?[/p][/quote]If you've noticed any of Supreme Chancellor Finis Valorum's other comments you'll have seen he/she's a horrible, bigoted, homophobe. I wouldn't pay him much mind.[/p][/quote]I will take that as a compliment, Watchman. Thank you. But if only you knew the truth ............. Supreme Chancellor Finis Valorum
  • Score: -1

6:19pm Wed 19 Mar 14

Oraacle says...

The opening sentence of the original Sun article in 2007 makes Mr. Hirst's case easily: "Mayor does a wife swap. The mayor of Prince Charles local town has swapped wives - with a next-door neighbour."

Not of national interest. Barely of local interest. Just trash journalism by virtue of a loose association with Charles.

As to Valorum, I find his ability to incorporate accents on his letters quite impressive. Though technically it should be a "tête-à-tête-à-t
ête-à-tête". And it should have remained a private conversation per the definition of the term.
The opening sentence of the original Sun article in 2007 makes Mr. Hirst's case easily: "Mayor does a wife swap. The mayor of Prince Charles local town has swapped wives - with a next-door neighbour." Not of national interest. Barely of local interest. Just trash journalism by virtue of a loose association with Charles. As to Valorum, I find his ability to incorporate accents on his letters quite impressive. Though technically it should be a "tête-à-tête-à-t ête-à-tête". And it should have remained a private conversation per the definition of the term. Oraacle
  • Score: 2

7:48pm Wed 19 Mar 14

Olly Cromwell says...

People are in danger of missing the real scandal.

There is a Gloucestershire Police officer (probably still serving) taking illicit payments.

Think about it....
People are in danger of missing the real scandal. There is a Gloucestershire Police officer (probably still serving) taking illicit payments. Think about it.... Olly Cromwell
  • Score: 2

10:04am Thu 20 Mar 14

Supreme Chancellor Finis Valorum says...

Are you insinuating that a person in a accountable position of office in Gloucestershire is taking dishonest and unlawful payments?

NOOOOOO!!!!!

I would still think the bigger shock is that an ex-mayor has been caught indulging in extramarital affairs against the wishes of most Christian groups. Remember, extramarital sex has historically been considered to be one of the more serious and damaging sins.

Unless of course this subject is far more common than I am led to believe.
Are you insinuating that a person in a accountable position of office in Gloucestershire is taking dishonest and unlawful payments? NOOOOOO!!!!! I would still think the bigger shock is that an ex-mayor has been caught indulging in extramarital affairs against the wishes of most Christian groups. Remember, extramarital sex has historically been considered to be one of the more serious and damaging sins. Unless of course this subject is far more common than I am led to believe. Supreme Chancellor Finis Valorum
  • Score: -2

11:12am Thu 20 Mar 14

Rex Cooper says...

Supreme Chancellor Finis Valorum wrote:
Are you insinuating that a person in a accountable position of office in Gloucestershire is taking dishonest and unlawful payments?

NOOOOOO!!!!!

I would still think the bigger shock is that an ex-mayor has been caught indulging in extramarital affairs against the wishes of most Christian groups. Remember, extramarital sex has historically been considered to be one of the more serious and damaging sins.

Unless of course this subject is far more common than I am led to believe.
It is a pity there isn't a law against people like you. You waste so much space and here's me wasting mine !
[quote][p][bold]Supreme Chancellor Finis Valorum[/bold] wrote: Are you insinuating that a person in a accountable position of office in Gloucestershire is taking dishonest and unlawful payments? NOOOOOO!!!!! I would still think the bigger shock is that an ex-mayor has been caught indulging in extramarital affairs against the wishes of most Christian groups. Remember, extramarital sex has historically been considered to be one of the more serious and damaging sins. Unless of course this subject is far more common than I am led to believe.[/p][/quote]It is a pity there isn't a law against people like you. You waste so much space and here's me wasting mine ! Rex Cooper
  • Score: 1

12:49pm Thu 20 Mar 14

Supreme Chancellor Finis Valorum says...

Rex ... Rex ... Rex .... a true keyboard warrior.

Have you ever thought what that piece of sharp, pointed metal is, the item stuck in your top lip?

Its the hook that I cast into the dark swirling rivers of the W&GS to catch people a such as yourself.

Calm down Rex, calm down ….. its not real.
Rex ... Rex ... Rex .... a true keyboard warrior. Have you ever thought what that piece of sharp, pointed metal is, the item stuck in your top lip? Its the hook that I cast into the dark swirling rivers of the W&GS to catch people a such as yourself. Calm down Rex, calm down ….. its not real. Supreme Chancellor Finis Valorum
  • Score: 0

2:25pm Thu 20 Mar 14

watchman_28 says...

Supreme Chancellor Finis Valorum wrote:
Are you insinuating that a person in a accountable position of office in Gloucestershire is taking dishonest and unlawful payments?

NOOOOOO!!!!!

I would still think the bigger shock is that an ex-mayor has been caught indulging in extramarital affairs against the wishes of most Christian groups. Remember, extramarital sex has historically been considered to be one of the more serious and damaging sins.

Unless of course this subject is far more common than I am led to believe.
Love that you refuted my accusations and then immediately went on the prove them in your very next comment. Good work.
[quote][p][bold]Supreme Chancellor Finis Valorum[/bold] wrote: Are you insinuating that a person in a accountable position of office in Gloucestershire is taking dishonest and unlawful payments? NOOOOOO!!!!! I would still think the bigger shock is that an ex-mayor has been caught indulging in extramarital affairs against the wishes of most Christian groups. Remember, extramarital sex has historically been considered to be one of the more serious and damaging sins. Unless of course this subject is far more common than I am led to believe.[/p][/quote]Love that you refuted my accusations and then immediately went on the prove them in your very next comment. Good work. watchman_28
  • Score: 1

5:05pm Thu 20 Mar 14

Rex Cooper says...

Supreme Chancellor Finis Valorum wrote:
Rex ... Rex ... Rex .... a true keyboard warrior.

Have you ever thought what that piece of sharp, pointed metal is, the item stuck in your top lip?

Its the hook that I cast into the dark swirling rivers of the W&GS to catch people a such as yourself.

Calm down Rex, calm down ….. its not real.
OK - you confess that your comments are not genuine, only made to wind people up. Your views will therefore and henceforth be ignored. Bye
[quote][p][bold]Supreme Chancellor Finis Valorum[/bold] wrote: Rex ... Rex ... Rex .... a true keyboard warrior. Have you ever thought what that piece of sharp, pointed metal is, the item stuck in your top lip? Its the hook that I cast into the dark swirling rivers of the W&GS to catch people a such as yourself. Calm down Rex, calm down ….. its not real.[/p][/quote]OK - you confess that your comments are not genuine, only made to wind people up. Your views will therefore and henceforth be ignored. Bye Rex Cooper
  • Score: 0

7:25pm Thu 20 Mar 14

Supreme Chancellor Finis Valorum says...

Watchman. Never refuted your comments.

Rex. Easy mate. No need to get stressed.

Both. There is still a free press in the UKand all are allowed to voice opinions?
Watchman. Never refuted your comments. Rex. Easy mate. No need to get stressed. Both. There is still a free press in the UKand all are allowed to voice opinions? Supreme Chancellor Finis Valorum
  • Score: 0

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