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RAF sergeant bought stripes on eBay

NCOs without insignia due to cost-cutting bungle

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Newly-promoted RAF sergeants are being forced to buy their stripes on eBay after a cost-cutting "bungle" left the proud NCOs without a proper supply of the essential badge of rank, the Sun reports.

One chap from RAF Valley in Anglesey apparently shelled out £4.99 to a private seller because there were no stripes available in his RAF store. He told the outraged tabloid: "I’d have paid more. The stripes were issued in 1998 and are better quality than the present ones. They’re 100 per cent cotton, look clean and the white chevrons are clear. The new cheaper polyester ones look cheap and nasty and the chevrons are dull."

The RAF admitted to a stripes famine after a new supplier's first batch proved not up to scratch. Those beancounters flying a desk down at the MOD have attracted plenty of flack recently for attempting to slash costs while simultaneously splashing out "£5million on ceremonial uniforms almost identical to existing ones — and £1.5million on badges and logos to prevent any confusion with RAC breakdown crews", as the Sun notes.

A poor show, but rather more worrying is the unnamed NCO's observation that: "A lot of kit is available on eBay from flying suits and helmets to berets and badges." Surely it is just a matter of time before the RAF is trawling eBay for Eurofighter spares and airbases to rent on a short-term lease. El Reg fears for Britain's air-defence capability. ®

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