A corrupt traffic cop has been jailed for handing out on-the-spot speeding fines to motorists so he could pocket the cash.

Hertfordshire Constabulary officer Irfan Hussain stopped one driver and "fined" him £30 after realising he had left his wallet at home and had no money for his lunch.

The crooked policeman was jailed for a year when he appeared at court to plead guilty to dishing out his own instant fines – including one in Stanmore and another in Borehamwood.

The court heard three motorists each handed over sums of £30 after being told by the officer it was a way they could avoid getting penalty points.

Hussain, 35, a married father of a young daughter, had been a police officer in Hertfordshire for ten years when he became corrupt last August.

Luton Crown Court was told he had committed the offences after suffering stress from a number of distressing cases, including the suicide of two young people on a railway line.

But in jailing the ex-officer, Judge Richard Foster said: "At the heart of policing in this country by consent is public trust."

The judge said the trust was based on the public believing in the integrity of police officers.

He went on: "That has been called into question by your conduct. What you have done is not just let yourself and your family down, but the entire police service."

Hussain was living with his wife and daughter at the time of the offences in Canterbury Way, Stevenage, and his duties regularly found himself as a traffic officer driving his marked police car in south-west Hertfordshire.

In the first of the offences on August 22, he "fined" one driver in Sandy lane, Bushey, and 40 minutes later another in Stanmore.

On August 26 he stopped a car in Elstree Way, Borehamwood, telling the driver he had been doing 40mph in a 30mph zone, and the following day took £30 from a motorcyclist not displaying L plates.

Hussain was caught after the Borehamwood motorist contacted his bosses at Hatfield Police station.

He pleaded guilty in court to misconduct, three offences of fraud and three offences of doing an act tending or intended to pervert the court of justice.

The court was told that following his arrest Hussain has been dismissed from the force and he and his family have moved to Larch Close in Teignmouth, Devon.

After the case, Deputy Chief Constable Alison Roome-Gifford said: "Irfan Hussain failed to live up to the high standard of conduct expected of staff who serve with Hertfordshire Constabulary and has now been imprisoned for his disgraceful conduct.

"The public rightly expects police officers to act with integrity at all times and for action to be taken when they do not. This officer betrayed the trust placed in him by the public and his colleagues and is now living with the consequences."