Police chief 'exaggerated' military past with 'fake' Falklands war medal

Nick Adderley

The suspended Nick Adderley had allegedly built a "legend that wasn't true"

James Saunders

By James Saunders

Published: 29/05/2024

- 15:04

Nick Adderley had worn the alleged copy of the South Atlantic Medal for years... but an MoD medals expert has expressed extreme doubt over its legitimacy

A police chief in the midst of a gross misconduct hearing over allegedly exaggerating his Navy achievements has been told his Falklands War medal is "110 per cent" a copy by a Ministry of Defence (MoD) expert.

Nick Adderley, currently suspended by Northamptonshire Police, had built a "legend that wasn't true", the hearing was told, including that he was a Falklands veteran, despite only being 15 when the war started in April 1982.

Adderley, the hearing was told, had also:

  • Claimed he had served in the Royal Navy for 10 years - when he had served for only two.
  • Attended the prestigious Britannia Royal Naval College - despite his application being rejected.
  • Been a military negotiator in Haiti - when he had never been to the country.

But now, MoD medals expert Chris Hayward, has told the misconduct panel he was "110% sure" the South Atlantic Medal (SAM) - awarded for service in the Falklands War - which Adderley allegedly wore, was a copy.

Nick Adderley/South Atlantic Medal

Adderley had been pictured wearing the allegedly fake SAM (far left, on breast) several times since at least 2010

PA/Police Federation/Wikimedia Commons

Hayward, who has worked at the MoD for nearly 30 years and in its medal office for 15 years, told the hearing that, during his career, he has inspected "hundreds, if not thousands" of SAMs.

He said that, in his view, a SAM sent to him by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) - which was allegedly voluntarily handed over by Adderley - at the end of his IOPC interview in October 2023, was not genuine.

Adderley has claimed the medal - which he has been pictured wearing several times since at least 2010 - was given to him by his brother when he emigrated.

And the suspended chief constable is part-way through a three-day misconduct hearing in which he is accused of exaggerating his rank and length of service, and telling "bare-faced lies" about his naval achievements.


Nick Adderley

Nick Adderley is accused of telling "bare-faced lies" about his naval achievements


Giving evidence on the second day of the hearing, at Northampton Saints Stadium, Hayward said the medal he was asked to examine was of "poorer quality" compared to official SAMs.

He said: "As soon as I picked it up, I could tell. It was lighter and not made of the same material... You could tell it was not cupronickel and the mount didn’t swivel - a real one can swivel around.

"Copy medals look more blingy, more shiny - you can tell straight away. We are handling official medals all the time.

"An inability to swivel is something I have seen before on copies. They don’t swivel, I think because of intellectual property rights - MoD medals are made by our contractor, so they have to be made in a specific way."

The expert also said he did not believe the inscription on the medal was engraved in the same way as the MoD's medals, adding: "It was totally different, a completely different look and font."

Nick Adderley

Matthew Holdcroft, defending Adderley, raised doubts that the medal received by the MoD was the same one that was sent by the IOPC


Asked by John Beggs KC, representing the Office of the Northamptonshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner, whether he thought the medal was genuine or a copy, Hayward said: "It was a copy medal, I’m 110% sure."

Hayward added that the medal he was sent, which did not have a covering note with it, was thrown away after it was examined "because they are not worth any money".

Neil Collins, lead investigator in the case at the IOPC, said in his evidence that the medal was handed over by Adderley at the end of his interview with him, and was sent to the MoD in a police evidence bag - which may have led the medal office to assume it had come from Wakefield Police.

Asked why this might be, he said: "It was sent directly from our Wakefield office and was stowed in what would appear to be an evidence bag... I can surmise it is because it had 'Wakefield' on the bag and it was a police evidence bag."

Matthew Holdcroft, defending Adderley, raised doubts that the medal received by the MoD was the same one that was sent by the IOPC due to the lack of a covering note, alongside the fact Collins said there was a service number on the medal, while Hayward said there was not.

The hearing continues.

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