A FORMER police community support officer has been convicted of stealing thousands of pounds from passengers at Gatwick Airport.

Alexis Scott, cheated airport passengers out of more than £10,000 by telling them they were limited to how much money they could take out of the country and then hid the cash in her hat.

The 39-year-old former Sussex Police officer was convicted of six counts of theft and one of misconduct in public office but cleared of one further count of theft.

She was refused bail at Canterbury Crown Court and will be sentenced later this month.

Scott, of High Grove in London, was accused of conning seven long-haul travellers out of sums ranging between £1,000 and £3,000 as they went through the departure gate at Gatwick's North Terminal.

Deputy Chief Constable Olivia Pinkney said: "Sussex Police expects the highest personal and professional standards of everyone who works for us. Scott fell woefully short of those standards, abusing the trust that we had placed in her, but more importantly, the trust of the public and in particular, the victims of her crimes.

"Passengers and other users of Gatwick Airport rightly expect that those who wear the uniform of Sussex Police do so with integrity and honesty. Scott failed in this simple requirement and has been duly punished, but this mustn't be allowed to reflect upon the professionalism, honesty and integrity of other employees of Sussex Police who work tirelessly and selflessly around the clock.

"This was a complex and detailed investigation of an audacious act, but any such act will not be tolerated and we acted swiftly and decisively as soon as it came to light."

A Sussex Police internal disciplinary investigation took place last year and as a result Scott attended a gross misconduct hearing on July 16, 2013, and was dismissed immediately.