A former community patrol volunteer - who impersonated a police officer while trying to find a female escort - says he is embarrassed about his actions.
Teacher aide Gregory Molony, 41, who pleaded guilty to charges of impersonating a police officer and theft in Tauranga District Court yesterday, was fined $750.
Outside court Molony told the Bay of Plenty Times he was deeply embarrassed and sorry for his crimes which happened during "a low point in his life" as he battled depression.
"A lot of people don't understand a lot about depression and how it can turn your whole world upside down and you can sometimes find yourself doing things you wouldn't normally do.
"I know it doesn't excuse what I have done and fully accept there has to be consequences for my actions which occurred when I wasn't thinking properly," he said.
Earlier, the court was told that Molony obtained a high-visibility police vest while working as a volunteer for the Papamoa Community Beach Patrol.
He took it with him on October 17 when he visited the Atrium Apartments in Mount Maunganui.
Molony was carrying the vest and a police-crested notebook when he told the apartment manager he was a police constable.
He said he wanted to talk to residents about a missing person he was looking for and wrote rank and phone number on to a piece of paper for the manager describing himself as Constable Greg Molony.
He also identified himself as a police officer to a resident and said he was looking for a missing Asian woman from Hamilton.
Molony told the resident he had left his identification at home when she asked to see it. He wrote the resident's phone number down and left.
He was later arrested.
Molony told police he had been given the vest while he was assisting at a motor vehicle crash several years earlier and had failed to return it.
He had been helping friends try and locate a woman they had previously employed as an escort because they believed she was taking their clients.
Molony's lawyer Jason Owers said his client's offending flew in the face of all the volunteer community work he had done.
Molony, who was now employed as teacher aide at a local school helping teach special needs children, was not able to do community work as he was still recovering from a broken ankle.
Judge Paul Geoghegan said Molony's offending was puzzling and had a "pathetic tinge" to it.
"It was certainly a pointless exercise that was doomed before you even started.
"You fronted up to the occupant carrying the vest in one hand and wearing jandals and shorts.
"The offending seems spontaneous and lacks any of sort of common sense or credibility.
"The most serious aspect of this is that it has the potential to affect the relationship between police and community patrols which work extremely hard together to protect the community."
Molony stopped being a Papamoa Beach Community Patrol member more than a year ago and his past voluntary work has included being a volunteer St John Ambulance officer in 1996.
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