Former Pc Timothy Edwards was paid £22,000 over three years for up to 30 stories involving celebrities, drug smuggling and airline crew antics, the Old Bailey heard. The Metropolitan Police officer, who was based at Heathrow Airport, took evidence from the police computer system, including crime reports and custody records.
Prosecutor Stuart Biggs said one woman named in a story suffered such "severe emotional stress" that she had tried to commit suicide. Her story had been turned into a "smutty sex-laden scandal", defence barrister Bill Emlyn Jones told the court.
In mitigation, Emlyn Jones said Edwards was an "intelligent man" who understood the harm the stories had done and was sorry for his insensitive and appalling misconduct. The 48-year-old, from Lingfield, Surrey, who was sacked last year, pleaded guilty to committing misconduct in a public office between March 31 2008 and July 1 2011.
Sentencing him, judge Richard Marks QC told him his conduct would cause a "betrayal of trust" in the police from the public.