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Last Updated: Wednesday, 9 August 2006, 13:34 GMT 14:34 UK
Four sacked over 'sex romp' claim
Four civil servants have been sacked and a further five disciplined after an investigation into claims that staff romped naked in their Tyneside office.

The antics are alleged to have taken place at the Newcastle office of the Rural Payments Agency in June.

Staff have also been accused of jumping naked from cabinets, holding dance competitions and having sex in toilets.

Managers said the allegations were "overblown" but that "inappropriate behaviour" had taken place.

The agency was set up to make payments to farmers from Euro subsidies - many thousands of whom have been left penniless because of a massive backlog.

The lurid claims, made by a whistleblower, also included allegations staff at the office vomited in cups and left them to fester in cupboards.

The claims, in June this year, led to an in-depth investigation resulting in four members of staff being dismissed and five disciplined with a combination of verbal and written warnings.

"There have been incidents of misbehaviour that are simply unacceptable in this organisation.
Tony Cooper, Rural Payments Agency

The agency has also tightened up management procedures and issued briefings to all staff reminding them of the code of conduct relating to appropriate behaviour at work.

Agency chief executive Tony Cooper said many of the claims were "overblown".

He said: "I am satisfied that the correct actions have been taken to deal with the misbehaviour of the small number of individuals involved.

"While the investigation made clear many of the initial reports were overblown, there have been incidents of misbehaviour that are simply unacceptable in this organisation.

"We have taken this matter very seriously and the action taken as a result of the investigation draws a firm line under all this."

Farmers protest against payments
11 Apr 06 |  Leicestershire

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