BBC loses IT gear worth £240,000

BBC staff have lost laptops and mobile phones worth a total of £241,019 over the past two years, a Freedom of Information request has revealed.

The broadcaster mislaid a total of 146 laptops, 65 mobile phones and 17 BlackBerry PDAs between April 2008 and March 2010.

The figures, which include equipment from commercial subsidiaries including BBC Worldwide, valued the missing laptops at £219,000, the mobile phones at £12,913, and the Blackberrys at £9,106.

Nineteen items have since been recovered, worth a total of £23,450.

The Freedom of Information was made by computer security software firm Absolute Software.

Dave Everitt, general manager at the company, told the Press Association: "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."

One BBC employee is said to have been investigated over missing items, but the company was unable to confirm if any disciplinary action had been taken.

The corporation said its mobile devices were "appropriately protected", and insisted it took thefts very seriously - but explained that the portable nature of the devices created an "inevitable" risk.

Another Freedom of Information request made last month by PR company Lewis PR revealed that during the same period 11 government departments had between them lost a total of 518 laptops, 131 smartphones, 104 mobiles and 932 electronic storage devices worth worth an estimated £77,854.