The crew of a police helicopter are to appear at Sheffield Crown Court on 7 June in a preliminary hearing accused of misconduct in a public office. They allegedly used a South Yorkshire Police helicopter to film naked people and couples having sex in four incidents between 2007 and 2012.

The defendants are reported to have captured the video footage while carrying out police operations in South Yorkshire. Their victims allegedly included couples engaging in sexual activity outdoors, who did not know they were being filmed, as well as a former Page 3 model sunbathing naked in her garden, The Sun reports.

"The investigation relates to unauthorised filming while using the force helicopter," a police spokesperson said.

The allegations of misconduct are "namely to observe and record a naked person without her knowledge and consent", according to the South Yorkshire Post.

Another alleges misconduct amounting to "misusing police resources for purposes that were not connected to your employment, namely to observe and record persons performing sexual acts".

The defendants include serving police officers Sergeant Matthew Lucas, 41, and Constable Lee Walls, 46. However, both have been suspended from duty, a police spokesperson said according to the Police Professional.

Ex-PC Adrian Pogmore, 50, a former South Yorkshire Police officer, has also been summonsed in relation to four counts of misconduct in public office. He was fired from the force in March 2015 after it was alleged he kept copies of the footage of people having sex at 'dogging' spots recorded from South Yorkshire Police's helicopter. According to a Sun report, Pogmore's ex-wife alerted police professional standards.

The SY99 helicopter used by the police force has a Wescam MX15 camera which can be used at night and also during the day. On the South Yorkshire Police website, the capabilities of the aircraft are described: "It houses two daylight cameras and one thermal imaging camera, which capture video images that are then displayed on colour monitors within the aircraft.

"The camera system, while the most expensive part of the aircraft, is among the best in world.

"It is used to search open areas, both rural and urban, not only to trace offenders but to locate missing persons resulting in numerous lives being saved."

The other defendants are pilots Matthew Loosemore, 44, of Doncaster, and Malcolm Reeves, 63, of Knaresborough, North Yorkshire, who is now retired.