Three former Essex Police officers claim they were given bad information by the force which led to substantial tax charges.

Gary Corsham, Gary Washbrook and David Gillie, who retired before they were 55, went onto further employment within one month of retirement, resulting in substantial tax charges on their lump sums and on their annual payments until they reached the age of 55.

The High Court has now asked the Pensions Ombudsman to consider whether, when the Essex Police authority wrote to the appellants referring to tax free lump sums, the police authority knew of the intended re-employment of the appellants and the likely start date of that re-employment.

If it did, the three could be entitled to large reimbursements.

All three men were serving police officers who were entitled to retire after 30 years’ service in the police force in 2010 or 2011, when each of them was under the age of 55.

It meant they were entitled on retirement to pensions which allowed them to take a substantial lump sum and then to receive annual pension payments.

Taking pension benefits under the normal minimum pension age normally produces adverse tax consequences for the pensioner.

However, it was only if they took up employment within one month of retirement.

The men say there was no warning from Essex Police about this issue.

Moreover they claim the police authority encouraged them to take up the further employment without delay.

Essex Police have denied specific detailed knowledge in relation to the re-employment and, as a result, Mr Justice Horsman has now ruled the Pension Ombudsman will decide whether Essex Police is liable.

He added: “In the absence of any concession from Essex Police and Crime Commissioner, I will remit the cases of the Essex appellants to the Pensions Ombudsman for him to consider what findings to make as to whether, when the Essex police authority wrote to the Essex appellants referring to tax fee lump sums, the police authority knew of the intended re-employment of the Essex appellants and the likely start date of that re-employment.”

Essex  Police said: “This is a long-running and complex case, now the matter has been passed back to the Pensions Ombudsman we will consider their subsequent judgement in due course.”