North Wales Police has an unexpectedly huge £45,000 hole in its budget, after paying off an enormous phone bill that was run up by a criminal under its protection.
The force hands out the odd phone to offenders to help them integrate back into society and keep in touch with support staff, but usually these are PAYG SIMs. On this occasion, though, a monthly contract with all the trimmings was given to the offender, with as many as three people having access to the device and clearly enjoying having someone else pick up the tab.
Whoever it was did a grand job of blasting through the Orange contract's data allowance in a few months, leading to the massive bill. No charges were bought and North Wales Police paid it off in full too, with a spokesperson saying: "A phone allows two way communications between the offender and the support agencies to provide encouragement and to keep the individual on track for the benefit of the community as a whole. Unfortunately on this occasion a contract phone was mistakenly given and then misused. The situation was dealt with as soon as it came to light in 2014 and we have since improved our procedures to ensure that it can't happen again." [BBC]