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June 20, 2003


From: Aberdeen Evening Express, UK - Jun 20, 2003

An Aberdeen police officer wants £100,000 damages after he was deafened by a burglar alarm.

Police constable Michael Burt says he suffered partial deafness in both ears after he was called to an activated alarm at a house in Milltimber.

Mr Burt's lawyers are understood to be arguing that as an officer on patrol he should have been issued with ear-protectors.

They are also bringing a case against the house owners and the company which fitted the alarm, claiming it was too loud.

The alarm was fitted by ADT Fire and Security at the home of Thomas and Siobhan Dreelan, Murtle Den House.

Glasgow-based lawyers Hugh Dowdall - who specialise in legal matters for the Police Federation - are handling the constable's case.

Senior partner Ian Watson said: "I can confirm that we have raised proceedings in Aberdeen Sheriff Court against Chief Constable Andrew Brown and two other parties as a result of damage suffered to our client's ears when he was on the beat."

Two years ago dog-handler PC Alan Ross sued the chief constable for £150,000, claiming his hearing was damaged by barking.

There was an out-of-court settlement.

The latest legal claim follows an incident three years ago when Mr Burt, a father-of-two from Kingswells, was called to the Milltimber house when the alarm went off.

It turned out to be accidental but Mr Burt suffered a particularly loud and long blast before it could be switched off.

Now he claims to have been left partially deaf in both ears and suffering tinnitus.

A spokesman for Grampian Police said the case was being handled by their lawyers and they could not comment.

But he added: "Issuing hearing protectors had been under discussion before the incident.

"They have since been made available to officers.

"It is up to them whether they make use of them or not."

Mr Burt and ADT refused comment. The Dreelans were unavailable.

The case is expected to be heard in three to four months.

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