Police officers involved in the cover-up of the Hillsborough disaster were accused of stealing money from those who died at the event and using it for police coffers, it has been reported.

A report which appeared in the Independent, revealed that the South Yorkshire officers held on to cash for almost three years before deciding to bank it – rather than donate the money to the disaster fund set up to help victims of the tragedy.

Officers had recovered possessions during the disaster, and paid it into the finance department of the police force.

It has also emerged that within weeks of the tragedy, in which 96 died and hundreds more were injured, police officers were encouraged to try and get compensation from a fund created for the victims.
In a letter to Sir Peter Wright, then chief constable, Paul Middup, secretary of the Police Federation’s South Yorkshire branch, said: “I see no reason why our officers should not claim from the Hillsborough one,” and asked him to bring the matter to “everyone’s notice” through force orders.

Although the decision was never put into practice, he agreed to help by getting a force welfare officer to contact individual officers “about their rights” to claim for money meant for the victims.

This latest news comes as yet another blow to the force who came under fire last month for attempting to get thousands of pounds from the Hillsborough disaster fund to pay for gym equipment, microwaves and a holiday home for the police.

During the subsequent cover-up of the disaster, newspapers such as the Sun and Daily Mail initially accused the football fans and victims of stealing from eachother and picking eachothers pockets. These accusations were backed up at the time from statements made by the police.

They later turned out to be false.


Margaret Aspinall, chair of the Hillsborough Family Support Group, whose son, James, 18, was among the victims, said: “This is an absolute disgrace and very ironic, when they were accusing the fans of robbing the dead. I just find that rather appalling.”

Sheila Coleman, from the Hillsborough Justice Campaign, said: “That the force responsible for the deaths of 96 people kept some of the money found at Hillsborough is beyond belief. The fact that they decided to keep it, and not even consider donating it to the disaster fund, speaks volumes as to the mindset of the South Yorkshire Police and their contempt for Liverpool football fans and their friends and families.”

A spokeswoman for South Yorkshire Police claimed that they were only acting in accordance with police.

She added: “South Yorkshire Police are unable to comment on how these particular monies may have been dealt with, as financial records from that time do not exist.”

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