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Last Updated: Tuesday, 20 June 2006, 20:18 GMT 21:18 UK
New probe over civil servants
A "rigorous" investigation into claims civil servants in Newcastle romped naked and took drugs at work has been demanded by the government.

Farming Minister Jeff Rooker said he was "appalled" by the alleged behaviour and wants a full probe carried out at the Rural Payments Agency (RPA).

It is alleged staff were caught on CCTV having sex in toilets and jumping naked from filing cabinets.

The RPA confirmed an employee at the office has been dismissed.

Last week Newcastle RPA staff became embroiled in another row when it emerged an e-mail message, leaked from the office, branded farmers "crazy and unhinged".

'Small minority'

The RPA condemned the e-mail and said it was written by an ex, temporary employee more than a year ago, who had since been sacked.

Lord Rooker is due to visit all RPA offices next month, including Newcastle, to thank staff for their "hard work".

A spokesman for the minister said he had already planned the visit to all RPA offices, including the North East before "recent events", and intended to honour his commitments.

A statement released on behalf of Lord Rooker said: "I am appalled by the reported behaviour of some staff at the Rural Payments Agency office in Newcastle and I will be closely following the RPA investigation which must be full and rigorous.

"The RPA has important work to do in getting payments to farmers as quickly as possible and anyone who does not take that job seriously is letting the public down.

"However, it is clear that these reported problems are with a small minority of staff and the vast majority of people at the RPA are continuing to word as possible."

Farmers protest against payments
11 Apr 06 |  Leicestershire

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