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Last Updated: Wednesday, 9 February, 2005, 11:10 GMT
Tsunami clothes 'taken by staff'
A young tsunami victim looks through a pile of donated clothes
The clothes were sent to a depot before being shipped to Asia
Two probation workers have been suspended over claims they took clothes donated to the Asian tsunami appeal.

The pair were among staff supervising 200 offenders who were sorting through the clothes at a warehouse in Cheetham Hill, Manchester.

The National Probation Service said it is taking the allegation, on 1 February, "very seriously".

The claims relate to four mail-sized bags and one bin-bag full of clothes, which were due to be shipped to Asia.

The clothes were being packed by offenders under supervision from the Manchester Community Punishment Unit.

None of the offenders have been accused of taking any clothes.

The bags alleged to have been taken were recovered and were among three trailers-loads of clothes sent to a central base in Birmingham and then on to Asia.

Police investigated

A spokesman for the National Probation Service said: "There is an internal investigation under way into an allegation that two members of staff have taken some clothing that was being sorted for the Asian tsunami disaster appeal.

"This is an allegation that we are taking very seriously.

"It must be stressed that at the moment this is an allegation and is being dealt with under our disciplinary procedures."

He said the staff members were suspended "immediately", after police were called to investigate.

"This incident should not take away from the fact that staff and offenders have been involved in carrying out excellent work to provide relief to those affected by the tsunami tragedy," he added.

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