Council worker’s gambling texts phone scandal

Doncaster  Mayor Peter Davies.
Doncaster Mayor Peter Davies.
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GAMBLING text alerts helped a council worker run up a £2,678 mobile phone bill – paid for by the taxpayer.

Doncaster Council says it is now trying to recover the money and is also currently investigating a second bill of £1,938 run up in the same quarter, between July and September last year.

The member of staff from the trading standards department who ran up the largest bill has since left the authority – and the council says they would have been sacked if they had not already gone.

The phone had received 1,800 premium rate text alerts, costing £1.27 each.

The second phone which is under investigation was a pool phone, which was used by a number of staff in the children’s services department.

The council, which is currently trying to make £73 million worth of spending cuts over the next four years, said the misuse of the phone was discovered during routine checks.

A spokesman said the authority was now carrying out a large-scale review of phone usage across the authority.

Last month, The Star revealed some councillors had run up bills of more than £1,000 between May 2009 and September 2010.

Those who ran up the highest of the bills, Coun Sue Phillips and Coun Jonathan Wood, defended themselves and said all the calls were related to council business.

Mayor Peter Davies said he thought money was being thrown away on mobile phones at the cash-strapped authority.

He said: “I’ve asked for a complete rundown on the situation. I’m waiting for the results of the survey but my suspicion is that most people don’t need these things.”

Mr Davies has also suggested councillors pay for their own mobile phones out of their annual allowance of £12,700.