£120,000 bill for thefts at councils in Leicestershire
A thief stole a purse from a staff member's handbag at County Hall before going on a £10,000 spending spree with the credit cards inside.
The purse was taken in March in one of a series of recorded thefts from council premises in Leicestershire.
Incidents recorded during the past three years range from a missing packet of biscuits to £35,000 of lead ripped from the roof of De Montfort Hall.
The total cost of the items taken from the city and county councils is more than £120,000.
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Leicester City Council Conservative opposition leader Councillor Ross Grant said: "Missing or stolen items are a direct cost to the local taxpayer.
"Security is an area that councils must stay on top of and we must ensure that we learn from previous mistakes to reduce thefts and losses."
The records of lost and stolen property were obtained by the Mercury under the Freedom of Information Act.
At County Hall, there were several incidents of unattended wallets and purses disappearing, cars being damaged outside the building, and electronic devices going missing.
The total bill for Leicestershire County Council is more than £15,000.
The city council gave a wider response, including items stolen from depots. The bill was more than £105,000.
Thieves struck at Abbey Pumping Station to take £150 from a collection box, while 10 tables and 20 chairs went missing from De Montfort Hall.
A diesel generator worth £3,500 went missing from Cossington Recreation Ground on Diwali day, along with a two-way radio worth £150. Thousands of pounds of equipment went missing from the cemeteries department, including leaf-blowers, hedge-trimmers and lawn-mowers.
A £15,000 excavation vehicle was stolen from a city council yard, as well as five chainsaws.
At the city council's main offices, in New Walk, reports of missing and stolen items ranged from a £600 computer monitor to a petty-cash tin with about £20 inside.
A spokesman for the county council said: "Access to County Hall is controlled by an access-card touch-pad system, which requires a person to have an active card to gain access to both the building and areas within the building.
"However, it is almost impossible to stop people 'tail-gating' into the building and we constantly advise staff to challenge anyone who appears not to have an ID or access pass.
"Whenever an incident is reported, we do advise staff to contact the police."
A city council spokesman said: "We take the matter of security very seriously, and are always looking for ways to improve security measures."