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Commons hit by rash of laptop thefts

One politico also has charm stolen

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The House of Commons' perennial theft problem has become increasingly high tech, with sporadic thefts of computers in recent years turning into a veritable run on laptops, according to the latest figures.

In a Commons answer last week, John Thurso detailed cases of theft on the Commons Estate over the last five years, for the benefit of MP Keith Vaz.

Back in 2006 there were 13 thefts, with the swag bag including one sim card, two laptops, a CD writer and a dictaphone. Non-high-tech items swiped included copier paper, lights, shoes, flowers and cash.

There were just eight thefts in 2007, all of them resolutely low-tech, including a bottle of whiskey, a rug, a cable drum, a purse, some cash and doorkeepers badge.

Just one laptop and one mobile phone went missing in 2008, but other items swiped included cash, a camera, a set of golf clubs, a set of chairs and a bike.

Cash was top of the list in 2009, with six incidents of folding-stuff thefts, although four mobiles also disappeared. A letter and a tax disc also went walkies.

In 2010, there were five cash thefts, with two laptops, one desktop, three mobiles, an iPod and an MP3 player also disappearing. Other disappearing items including a knife, and chillingly, an orchid. That year was an election year.

However, the Commons' thievery committee has now gone resolutely high tech, with the latest year's haul including no less than 25 laptops, two desktops, one iPad and three mobile phones. There were 40 thefts in total for 2011, the figures show.

One unfortunate was even left bereft of their "charm".

Thurso also gave an answer detailing the number of prosecutions for theft since 2006 – altogether five. ®

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