AN army veteran has revealed he was “left at rock bottom” after being sacked from the police force.

Andrew Copley was dismissed from Essex Police - following almost 19 years of service - in 2019 after being accused of selling specialist police equipment at a gross misconduct tribunal.

After losing has job, Andrew “just wanted to give up” and even considered taking his own life.

However, SSAFA, a veteran charity in Southend, came to his rescue and helped him through the difficult time.

Andrew said: “SSAFA is the unsung hero, they look after the veterans of the country. I know that because of what I’ve seen and experienced.

“I’m really pleased that SSAFA found me. Things happen for a reason and I’m not sure I’d be here today without SSAFA.”

Andrew was accused of selling a camouflaged leaf suit, a pair of boots and a yachting jacket on Ebay, but claims he was unaware the items were policing equipment.

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Speaking about his dismissal from the force, Andrew said: “I was disappointed, upset, angry.

“Everything I’ve done in my life I’ve been a law-abiding citizen. After everything I’ve done, put my life on the line for, for that to then happen, it really hurt.

“On the Monday after I was fired, I just wanted to give up, I’d had enough. It all felt so unjust, I sadly had considered every option, including ending my life.

“Fortunately, I’ve got two little girls and I knew I had to get myself in gear.

“There was no intent, it was my genuine belief that all items sold were mine – it was old equipment I had at home and none of it was sold for much money, I would never have put my police career in jeopardy if I had any thoughts it was police issued equipment.”

After being dismissed, Andrew lost his pension which would have amounted to £140,000.

SSAFA helped Andrew secure funds for a camera so he could get into surveillance work. He now volunteers for the charity and eventually wants to become a caseworker.

He added: “If someone says to me that they’ve served, it doesn’t matter how long, or whether it’s Army, Royal Air Force or Navy – I want to support them. I’ve got their back and so does SSAFA.”