Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/07/29/whitehall_terror/

Fragrant tech thief stalks Whitehall

Public servants' purses exposed

By Joe Fay

Posted in Government, 29th July 2010 12:53 GMT

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:

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:

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. ®