The charge was not put to him at an earlier hearing at Warwick Crown Court after the judge was told there was   to be an application for the charge against Hilton to be dismissed.

Written submissions were made to Judge Alan Parker in advance of the hearing at which the application to dismiss was to be heard.

But Judge Parker commented: “I have read the papers very carefully, and I could not imagine any way whatsoever that the arguments which had been expressed could possibly persuade me to follow the line of reasoning I was being asked to follow.”

Prosecutor Alistair Redford then asked for the indictment to be amended by further charges being added; and Hilton’s barrister Liz Power asked for him to be arraigned.

Hilton, who was a serving Warwickshire police officer but was suspended from duty in May, then pleaded not guilty to the most serious charge of misconduct in a public office.

But he pleaded guilty to four charges of securing unauthorised access to computer material.

The court heard that in June and November 2010 and in April and October 2012,     while acting as a police officer, Hilton had accessed police computer programs to obtain personal information without authority.

Hilton also pleaded guilty to “pursuing a course of conduct which amounted to the harassment” of a woman named Samantha Bonsor between January last year and May this year.

It was said that Hilton continually e-mailed her at her place of work, despite her requests to stop doing so and to make no further contact with her, and sent flowers to her place of work.

In June last year Hilton was even sent an e-mail by Insp Emma Bastone, of Warwickshire Police, instructing him not to make any contact with Ms Bonsor. 

“But despite that warning, he made further contact with her through her work e-mail address.

After Hilton had entered his pleas, at the request of Miss Power, the case was adjourned for a pre-sentence report to be prepared on him, and he was granted bail.

But Judge Parker told him: “As to what will happen, I don’t know.  

“There is no promise in granting you bail, and no promise in adjourning for a pre-sentence report.”