Beeb loses £241,019 worth of laptops and mobile phones

So good old Aunty, that fantastic British institution the BBC, has been buying in iPads and commissioning iPhone apps at the cost of the licence fee payer. But whether staff will be able to hang onto their shiny Apple toys for longer than half a minute is questionable. Have execs smartened up about spending loads of dosh on overpriced tablets? Nope: the Beeb’s just clumsy.

According to Absolute Software, which put in a Freedom of Information (FOI) request,  BBC laptops and mobiles worth £241,019 were lost or stolen throughout the corporation over the past two years. Broken down this accounts to 146 laptops, 65 mobile phones and 17 Blackberry devices between April 2008 and March this year.

In the FOI, Aunty said the missing laptops had been valued at £219,000, the mobile phones at £12,913 and the Blackberry phones at £9,106.

It tried to patch things over by claiming that 19 items worth £23,450 were later recovered, leaving a final bill of £217,569. One member of staff had been investigated over the theft of a laptop.

Dave Everitt, a representative for  Absolute Software said: “It is shocking that any organisation could lose so much equipment, but the BBC is just one of many we’ve seen recently, proving it’s all too common.

“In this case, however, this technology is paid for by the licence payer and employees should be far more careful about how they handle it.”

A BBC spokeswoman said: “The BBC takes theft very seriously and has implemented a number of measures to reduce the level of crime.

“The portability of laptops and phones means that in any large organisation there is an inevitable risk of theft.”

She added: “The BBC investigation service is involved whenever an allegation of theft is made, and where appropriate the police are informed and prosecutions brought where we can.”

However, Mr Everitt told the Press Association that he wasn’t sure if Aunty Beeb was telling the truth and questioned whether the laptops were appropriately protected because of the number of devices that had not been recovered.