A police officer has been awarded £44,000 after his Celtic mug defaced with offensive graffiti about the Pope.

Police Sergeant Paul McCue was subjected to religious harassment while working for the Civil Nuclear Constabulary unit at Hunterston power station, having previously been harrassed twice.

A tribunal found that Sgt McCue found a document with "UDA no surrender" written on a piece of paper on his pigeon hole in June 2020, with the same message left inside his jacket in August of that year.

In June of 2021 his Celtic mug was vandalised with the letters 'FTP', understood to refer to "f*** the Pope".

Sgt McCue had begun working at Hunterston in 2007 as part of a unit dedicated to protecting nuclear sites.

A hearing was told that there had been a "history" of religious tension in the Civil Nuclear Constabulary unit, with training given to officers after allegations of sectarianism.

He first found a letter addressed to him in his pigeon hole with "UDA no surrender" written on it, though it had been some time since he'd cleared his mail and he could not put a time frame on it.

The Herald:

In August 2020 he discovered a letter with the same message on it inside the jacket he wore for work which had been hanging up in the male changing room.

Sgt McCue did not choose to take these incidents to an employment tribunal, instead focusing on his health having had to take a two month sick leave beause his mental health "was not great".

Having discussed a transfer he returned to work on October 10 2020, stating he felt the atmosphere had improved and that he did not expect a repeat of the incidents. An investigation by Police Scotland was closed in February the following year.

However, on June 30 2021 Sgt McCue found that his Celtic Football Club mug had been graffited with the letters 'FTP' while in the kitchen cupboard, with the wet ink suggesting it had been done relatively recently.

A hearing was told "some officers knew which mug belonged to which officer".

Sgt McCue was upset and had to return home, stating that he would raise the incident as a hate crime, with a critical incident declared.

Read More: Suicidal asylum seekers in Scotland 'feel abandoned' by the Home Office

An internal investigation concluded that one or more colleagues "who have a dislike for him based around his religion and are using bigoted/sectarian phrases or acronyms to target him knowing it will cause him distress/mental health'" and "clearly some personal animosities".

The tribunal agreed that there was not a "sectarian problem" at Hunterston, as an internal report had found, but stated that was a "semantic matter" given that Sgt McCue had been subject to religious abuse on three occasions.

It was found that the first two incidents were clearly targeted at the officer, and almost certainly by a member of staff, while in the third case it was possible the graffiti was simply targeted at a Celtic supporter, "the person responsible is more likely than not to have known whose mug it was given it was returned to the correct section".

In the matter of the first two incidents the Civil Nuclear Police Authority was found not to be liable, as "reasonable steps" had been taken following the incidents.

However, Judge David Hoey ruled Sgt McCue was harassed on grounds of religion over the mug incident as steps were not followed which could have prevented it after the previous two incidents.

The officer Sgt McCue accused of carrying out the attacks was never interviewed and 'bespoke' training was not carried out within six months.

The officer was awarded damages totalling £43,981.76 - £14,000 for injury to feelings plus interest of £1,592.55, and £26,858.63 for financial loss plus interest of £1530.58.