AN RAF officer who served in Afghanistan is facing a court martial over allegations he stole sweets worth £35 from an officers’ mess.

Flight Lieutenant Jordan Polonijo, from Southend, is accused of taking drinks, chocolates and crisps from the mess at RAF Waddington, near Lincoln, last summer, according to the Daily Mail.

The 34-year-old denied the theft at a preliminary hearing at Catterick Garrison last week and says he intends to contest the charge at the court martial in October.

It is thought the charge relates to times when the mess is not staffed and officers are trusted to leave money in an honesty box to cover items taken.

While the decision to try the officer may appear heavy handed, military sources told the Mail the alleged dishonesty and his seniority are more significant factors than the scale of the alleged theft.

He had been promoted to Flight Lieutenant from Flying Officer just two weeks after the alleged offences.

In 2017, he was singled out for praise during his officer training at RAF Cranwell in Lincolnshire when he received the Officers’ Association prize for his outstanding charity work.

Polonijo had previously served in Afghanistan as a lance-corporal with the Brigade Reconnaissance Forces where he was an intelligence analyst.

If found guilty of the offence, he may be demoted or penalised with a hefty fine.

Recruits in training at Cranwell are told: ‘Officers are expected and required to be utterly trustworthy, diligent and conscientious and to demonstrate the highest standards and levels of integrity. Very soon after training, officers could be required to lead and manage personnel who could be older than themselves or have many more years of experience, and therefore officers must demonstrate consistently high levels of personal and professional standards.’

An RAF spokesman said: “We expect high standards from our personnel and anyone falling short of the behaviour expected can face disciplinary procedures. As the case is ongoing, it would be inappropriate to comment further.”