Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/12/18/hmrc_mislays_charlie/

HMRC mislays 1.5kg of Bolivian marching powder

Child benefit claimants not at risk, however

By Lester Haines

Posted in Bootnotes, 18th December 2007 18:27 GMT

HM Revenue and Customs has enhanced its international reputation for mislaying things by allowing 1.5kg of cocaine to go walkabout from a HMRC depot near Coventry airport, the Sun reports.

Warwickshire Police have confirmed they're investigating the "complete one-off", which saw the Bolivian marching powder evaporate from a secure lock-up for which "less than 10 people" had the password.

While acting chairman of HMRC David Hartnett told a public accounts committee he would be "very worried" if the Colombian naughty salt had been half inched, he did not rule out the possibility that it "could have been sent to be destroyed, to a court for evidence or to a laboratory".

Hartnett said: "I am very concerned about what has happened in Coventry. All I know is that an amount of cocaine - 1.5kg - is missing from the place it should be in a secure lock-up.

"What I don't know at the minute is whether this cocaine has been sent for destruction, or to a court or to a forensic science laboratory and the paperwork has not been done properly or it has been stolen. I am very worried if it is the latter."

While Warwickshire's finest scour the countryside for the missing charlie, HMRC is still looking for the details of the 25m citizens contained on two discs which went awol back in November.

To save you the trouble, were HMRC to compensate the disc-outrage-affected citizens with a percentage of the street value of the rogue stash of nose Ajax, it would amount, by our reckoning, to a paltry 3.6 pence worth of toot per head - way short of the minimum required to numb citizens' faculties to HMRC's quite astounding track record of carelessness. ®