TWO custody officers have been removed from the trial of a man accused of deliberately trying to infect male lovers with HIV after being heard snoring.

An investigation is being carried out by prison and custody escort service GEOAmey after it received complaints about two separate incidents where officers were believed to be asleep during an ongoing trial at Lewes Crown Court.

The officers involved were accompanying defendant Daryll Rowe, 26, of no fixed address, who is accused of tampering with contraception while having sex with men in Brighton between October 2015 and December last year.

A member of the public watching the opening of the trial earlier this month, who asked not to be named, said he could hear snoring coming from the dock.

He said: “I think it happened twice but I am not sure if it was the same person or two different officers.

“It might be quite easy to drift off in there. I could hear the snoring and one of the ushers was trying to reach and give them a nudge.

“It wasn’t particularly disruptive but people did definitely notice.

“The courtroom is an old style room where the defendant is brought upstairs and into the dock by the officer who would then be sitting in the dock with him.”

A complaint was reportedly lodged with the Ministry of Justice about the incidents.

The MoJ has been contacted by The Argus for a comment but had not responded as we went to print.

A GEOAmey spokesman said: “An internal HR investigation is underway following a complaint about two incidents in which GEOAmey custody officers appeared to fall asleep during a case currently being heard at Lewes Crown Court.

“Both officers have been removed from the case and a verbal apology has been made to the judge in the case.”

Rowe is facing allegations lodged by ten men, all of which he denies.

The hairdresser pleaded not guilty to four charges of grievous bodily harm with intent and six charges of attempting to cause grievous bodily harm with intent.