Money goes missing from council’s mailroom safe

The North Norfolk District Council offices at Cromer. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

The North Norfolk District Council offices at Cromer. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: © ARCHANT NORFOLK PHOTOGRAPHIC

Council chiefs failed to tell the public for more than a year that it had called in police to investigate cash going missing from its mailroom safe.

Detectives were contacted by North Norfolk District Council (NNDC) in December 2019 after the authority discovered £1,000 was missing in October of that year.

But the council failed to tell the public about the investigation or the missing funds, until asked about it by this newspaper on Monday.

In August, its Governance Risk and Audit Committee was told about the cash being lost, but this part of the meeting was held in private.

The council said it was behind closed doors because it related to its “financial or business affairs”.

However, a council spokesman insisted that it had “not sought to hide this matter from the public”.

In the private meeting in August councillors were told about the circumstances that led to the investigation.

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They heard that police were unable to solve the mystery of the missing money.

A spokesman for Norfolk police said: “We can confirm that we received a report of theft by employee in December 2019 after £1,000 was allegedly stolen from a safe at the North Norfolk District Council.

“The incident was reported to have happened between October 10 and October 14 2019.

“Following an investigation, it was established that there was insufficient evidence to suggest that a theft had taken place and the investigation was closed.”

A council spokesman said its internal auditors were also asked to investigate but they could not find out whether the money had been lost or stolen.

They added: “The council instituted new procedures to minimise the risk of any similar event happening in the future.

“The issue involved a relatively small amount of money and the investigations highlighted some procedural issues which have been addressed through new processes.”

See also: Police investigate financial crime allegation at council

It is the second time in a year that police have been called in to investigate an issue at the council.

In July police were contacted about how a contract was awarded by the Liberal Democrat administration to carry out a review into the council’s leadership. That investigation has not concluded.