BUYING tickets for a murder mystery play as a present to celebrate your girlfriend’s birthday is not unusual - but using your corporate credit card to foot the bill is.

However, the former chief constable of Cleveland Police, Sean Price, did exactly that when he treated his partner and staff officer, Heather Eastwood, to a special night in the capital.

An overnight stay at The Hyatt Regency Hotel in London was booked for the pair, costing £216.64, using the chief constable’s corporate credit card to reserve the king-size room. The following day the former Detective Chief Inspector used her police credit card to clear the mini-bar bill.

According to documents revealed as part of the Operation Sacristy investigation, which was closed on Wednesday without any charges being laid against any of the ten people arrested, the trip was one of more than 25 overnight stays the pair shared.

The trip to the theatre coincided with meetings that Mr Price was due to attend as part of his duties as chief constable.

When Mr Price was interviewed about the incident that happened in March 2010 he handed over a prepared statement denying any wrongdoing and blaming the hotel payment on an innocent error.

His statement read: “When Heather and I were engaged in business activities we would be professional at all times and have separate rooms. We would have stayed in London that night in any event as we had meetings the next day but I wanted to book somewhere that was a bit nicer as a treat and so this was strictly a personal and social matter and should have been paid for from my own funds.

“The fact that it was paid for using my corporate credit card is simply a stupid and somewhat embarrassing error.”

The couple have sinced married.

The person who booked the tickets and hotel room, named as Subject M in the misconduct investigation which resulted in Mr Price’s sacking, denied having access to her boss’ personal bank details.