Laptops, bikes and leaf blowers stolen from Wakefield Council at £4,000 cost

Two leaf blowers were stolen in separate incidents last year, at a combined cost of 670 to the taxpayer.
Two leaf blowers were stolen in separate incidents last year, at a combined cost of 670 to the taxpayer.

Laptops, bikes and leaf blowers are among the items to have been stolen from Wakefield Council over a 12 month period.

There were six thefts from local authority premises between April 2018 and March 2019, which cost the council a total of £4,187.

Laptops and expensive IT equipment were also taken and not recovered

Laptops and expensive IT equipment were also taken and not recovered

All of the incidents were referred to the authority's anti-fraud unit, but the items were never recovered.

The cases were revealed in a report going before the council's audit committee next Monday.

Two leaf blowers were stolen in separate incidents during the year, at a cost of £335 each.

Two work laptops were also thieved, along with an additional £1,500 worth of IT equipment.

The council did not say where its bikes were stolen from, but it does allow people to hire cycles at Pugneys Country Park (pictured), as well as at Anglers Country Park and Thornes Park.

The council did not say where its bikes were stolen from, but it does allow people to hire cycles at Pugneys Country Park (pictured), as well as at Anglers Country Park and Thornes Park.

The council did not say where the two bikes were taken from, but it does run cycle hire at Anglers and Pugneys country parks and Thornes Park Stadium.

The report also revealed that one individual tried to spend almost £4,200 on a stolen credit card belonging to the authority, while another tried to avoid paying £3,000 worth of council tax.

These were two of 23 unsuccessful attempts to defraud the taxpayer of cash.

One person tried to con the council out of £27,900 in an attempted insurance fraud, while there were also eight recorded email phishing attacks during the course of the year. One of these was against a school.

The council would not give any further details about the attempted frauds, citing legal reasons.

Councillor Les Shaw, Cabinet member for corporate services, said: "The council takes its responsibility as guardians of public funds seriously.

"Overall, our processes for tackling bribery, corruption and fraud are adequate but it is our plan to further strengthen these over the next 12 months in the areas of governance, proactive counter-fraud work, improved partnership working, communication and training and performance monitoring."

Local Democracy Reporting Service