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Last Updated: Wednesday, 30 July, 2003, 13:58 GMT 14:58 UK
Police payout for secret filming
John and Kath Diggle
The Diggles still have not received an apology
A GP and his family have been awarded 50,000 after being put under surveillance following a complaint by a neighbour.

A 28-day surveillance operation was authorised by Gwent Police on the home of Dr John Diggle and his wife Kath in Caerleon, near Newport after their son Tom, 14 at the time, threw an egg at a car.

But the operation over ran by three days and the force admitted liability following a complaint by the family.

Neighbour Eugene Collins, a former police officer, had reported the incident in December 1998 after which relations between the two families deteriorated.

Officers mounted recording equipment onto the balcony of a house overlooking the Diggle's home and filmed the family's movements day and night for 31 days.

Later, a police officer called at Dr Diggle's surgery to say that Tom had been caught throwing another egg at Mr Collins car.

Dr Diggle asked the officer to call around to their house to talk to Tom about his behaviour.

Tom Diggle
Tom Diggle, 20, was 14 when the filming took place

But when he arrived at their house, he showed them the recording that had been made.

His wife Kath explained: "When he arrived carrying the video, I giggled a bit because I had imagined that Mr Collins had been sitting in his garage in the middle of November videoing our house.

"But then the police officer said that it was a legally warranted police operation.

"We were shocked and couldn't believe it," she said.

Following the discovery that they had been filmed, the family made a 20-page complaint to the chief constable of the force.

"If someone from the police had come to us then and said sorry, we would never have pursued this," said Mrs Diggle.

"They still haven't said sorry."

Two years later, in 2000, with the matter still unresolved, Tom was arrested during one of his school lessons after an incident - which left someone seriously injured - although charges were never brought.

We want to put this whole thing behind us now
Kath Diggle

The family eventually went to the Police Complaints Authority (PCA).

But they say the subsequent out-of-court settlement cannot change the years in which they suffered stress.

"The egg throwing incidents were childish and antisocial acts and we are not condoning what he did," said Mrs Diggle.

"But its not like he threw a stone at the car.

"Tom, is 20 now and he feels very stupid that he started this chain of events when he was 14.

"I had to give up work because I got so depressed about it all.

"We want to put this whole thing behind us now," she added.

Surveillance authorised

A statement issued by Gwent Police said: "Eugene Collins approached Gwent Police as the victim of a crime.

"His car was being repeatedly damaged. After exhausting the usual lines of investigation such as door-to-door enquiries and extra patrols, camera surveillance was authorised.

"After 31-days Thomas Diggle was taped interfering with Mr Collins' car.

"But it was as the result of Thomas Diggle being arrested for another matter shortly afterwards that the complaint against Gwent Police arose.

"The complaint was investigated by the Complaints and Discipline Department and certain matters substantiated.

"It was found that the surveillance had overrun the original authorised period by three days and was, therefore, unlawful.

"The Diggle family made a number of complaints involving their son, such as his arrest at school, which Gwent Police accepted."

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