A detective and two former detectives were among six men who appeared in court yesterday on corruption charges.

John Michael Matthews (58), a serving detective sergeant with Staffordshire Police, and Anthony Wood (63) and Gary Flanagan (41), both former detective sergeants with the same force, appeared at London's Bow Street Magistrates Court.

Also appearing in the dock were Gordon Bucher (52), of Aconbury Avenue, Hereford, Jeremy Howard Young (38), of Ilford, east London, and Scott Geltsthorpe (31), of Kettering, Northamptonshire.

All six men are accused of conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office by carrying out an unauthorised check o n the police national computer.

Matthews, currently suspended from duty, and Wood and Flanagan, who are now both private investigators, are each charged with conspiracy to commit misconduct in a public office between September 2003 and April 2005.

They are accused of carrying out an unauthorised check on the police national computer for the benefit of a private investigation company.

Flanagan, of Clayton, Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire, is also charged with theft of a police warrant card between September 1999 and February 2006.

The men were arrested after an investigation by the Metropolitan Police's Anti-Corruption Command.

Wood and Matthews, who are both from Stafford, and Flanagan and Bucher received unconditional bail to appear at Southwark Crown Court in London on June 22.

Young and Geltsthorpe were released on conditional bail to appear at Southwark Crown Court on the same date.