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Fragrant tech thief stalks Whitehall

Public servants' purses exposed

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Civil servants at the Department for Communities and Local Government are living in fear of a sweet smelling mobile technology thief who carries a ladies' purse.

That is the inescapable conclusion after a minister in the department detailed the terrifying catalogue of thefts within the department in a commons answer.

Pete Wishart MP had asked: "What property has been recorded as (a) lost and (b) stolen from the Department in the last 12 months; and what estimate has been made of the cost of the replacement of that property?"

Robert O'Neill revealed that in the last 12 months under the previous government, stolen swag at the department amounted to:

  • Five BlackBerrys valued at approximately £1,000 (£200 each)
  • Six laptop computers valued at approximately £6,000
  • Two mobile phones valued at approximately £250 in total
  • One mobile phone charger valued at approximately £10
  • One laptop login key (stolen from staff home address) valued at approximately £70
  • One memory stick valued at approximately £20

While the new law and order Tory brooms might have been expected to come down hard on the Sim-hungry thief, the reverse appears to have been true. The tide of lawlessness has built even higher.

Since the coalition came to power, another six laptops valued at a grand a pop have disappeared, while an Apple iPhone has been "lost".

Even scarier, civil servants' personal property has been targeted, to wit:

  • One bottle of aftershave
  • One purse
  • Two mobile phones
  • One mobile phone charger
  • One laptop
  • Two memory sticks
  • Two power leads

O'Neill assured Wishart that none of the stolen devices contained classified data, and the laptops and Blackberries were all password protected. Sadly, O'Neill does not detail exactly what kind of aftershave was purloined, meaning public watchdogs have no scent to follow. ®

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