Page last updated at 11:50 GMT, Wednesday, 7 October 2009 12:50 UK

Staff disciplined over lost cash

Fifteen customer service staff have been disciplined after more than £6,000 went missing at a council office.

The Vale of White Horse council in Oxfordshire said the day's takings from 28 July was identified as missing three days later.

The money included payments for council tax and parking fines.

The staff, who work on the Local Service Point in Abingdon, were disciplined for their collective failure to properly handle the money.

An internal investigation could not confirm whether the money was lost or stolen.

Unison, the union representing some of the staff, said it was not happy with the way council had reacted.

Regional organiser Steve Waite said: "Staff aren't happy that they've been condemned without trial.

"Out of any proper process, they've issued a blanket disciplinary notice on everyone.

"That's extremely poor practice by anyone's measure."

'This is unacceptable'

The council reported the theft to Thames Valley Police, but after investigating the incident the force said it could not take the matter any further.

Steve Bishop, the council's finance director, said: "It is disappointing that the police cannot pursue a criminal investigation because of lack of evidence.

"Whether it was theft or not the fact remains there was an opportunity for someone to steal the cash and this is unacceptable."

An external security expert was appointed by the council and identified a number of measures to improve security that the council said it was implementing.

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