AN Avon and Somerset police officer sacked for gross misconduct has been reinstated.

A police appeal tribunal held yesterday (Tuesday) concluded that an accusation of gross misconduct against PC Simon Bidgood that led to his sacking was proven at a previous hearing.

But the tribunal decided that he should instead be reinstated and given a final warning.

The previous hearing was told that PC Bidgood had contacted a member of the public on social media while at work and sent them a text message exchange he had faked.

At the time, he was found to have breached standards of professional behaviour including duties and responsibilities, honesty and integrity and discreditable conduct.

Some of the allegations related to his use of a website which generates fake text messages in order to dupe a member of the public.

PC Bidgood had also initiated contact with the member of the public while he was on police duty, the original hearing was told.