Police who arrested a rugby player for filming them on a break hacked the phone so many times it became locked – for 42 years.
Management trainee Jake Coplestone, 20, used his mobile phone to record footage of five officers outside a coffee shop.
But he was then approached by two of the officers who accused him of being drunk and disorderly and put him in handcuffs.
He was arrested and spent the night in a police cell before being released – without his iPhone.
But when the handset was returned five days later it had a screen message stating: “iPhone is disabled, try again in 22,461,058 minutes”.
He claims this was due to the handset being tampered with repeatedly in a crude effort to crack the password.
The bungled attempts to break into the phone resulted it being automatically ‘locked’ – for 42 years.
Police have referred the incident to their professional standards department but say the officers involved refute Mr Coplestone’s claims.
But Jake, of Marlborough, Wilts., said: “The only logical explanation for my phone being disabled for 42 years is that someone had been trying to access my files to delete the video footage of officers in the club.
“I was not drunk and disorderly and I believe the only reason for my arrest was my taking footage of the officers standing at the bar.
“I’m discussing what to do, including court action and a complaint to the Independent Police Complaints Commission, with my solicitor.”
Jake recorded the uniformed police enjoying a coffee break in the Azuza, a bar and coffee shop, during a weekend shift in Marlborough, Wiltshire.
He had had been enjoying a night out with friends at the bar five weeks ago when he began videoing the five officers.
They saw him using the device and Jake allege the officers then discussed whether to arrest the 6ft 5in rugby plater under Section 60 of the Public Order Act.
It is claimed the officers then decided on ‘drunk and disorderly’ after he protested.
Mr Copestone says he was then seized by one of the officers and led to a car park behind the Azura where police patrol vehicles were parked.
He was handcuffed and put into a vehicle before being driven to the custody suite in Swindon – where his mobile phone was confiscated.
Jake, who plays rugby for a south-west England under-16 squad, said his pleas to be breathalysed to prove he was not drunk were refused by officers.
Police say its policy is to only offer breathalyser tests to drink driving suspects and Jake was then put in a cell overnight.
He was released the next morning after admitting being drunk and disorderly.
Mr Coplestone says his phone was returned five days later – after the intervention of his solicitor and he paid a #80 fixed penalty – but it was blocked.
The screen message read: “iPhone is disabled, try again in 22,451,058 minutes”.
Mr Coplestone was eventually able to retrieve the 51-second video from inside the phone using a software programme ironically named Jail Break
Police dispute his account and claim he was warned to leave the area because he was committing a public order offence, but was arrested when he returned.
Chf Supt Paul Mills, head of local policing at Wiltshire Police, said records showed Mr Coplestone chose to pay the fixed penalty rather than appear at court.
He said: “No formal complaint has been made and the force have not seen the alleged footage.
“However, due to the serious allegations being made by Jacob Coplestone, this will now be subject to an investigation by the Force Professional Standards Department who are responsible for the oversight of all conduct matters attaining to police officers and staff.”
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