Crooks made thousands of pounds worth of calls after stealing sims from alarms. Strathclyde Police Associates, South Lanarkshire.
A FRAUD-HIT council has been forced to call in police for the second time in six months after falling victim to a sophisticated mobile phone scam.
Crooks have racked up thousands of pounds worth of calls at the taxpayersâ€™ expense after stealing sim cards from alarm systems installed by South Lanarkshire Council.
It comes just months after the authority, which is facing Â£55million worth of budget cuts, was stung for more than Â£100,000 by an African crime gang after officials were duped into paying money into a bogus account.
But now police have been called in again after thieves stole 17 sim cards from residential alarm systems from the homes of elderly and disabled people.
The cards were designed to call only the authorityâ€™s social work department if the alarm was triggered, but the criminals managed to rig them to make thousands of pounds worth of personal calls from mobile phones.
Bosses at the Labour-run council are said to be furious after hearing about the costly scam only last week following a tip-off from the public.
And it is also understood that Strathclyde Police made initial inquiries with council staff six months ago, but details were only recently passed on to managers.
Last September, forged documents instructing a change of bank details were sent to the council and used to obtain fraudulent payment of Â£102,000.
At the time councillor Graeme Horne, deputy leader of the SNP opposition group vowed that officials would â€œtighten up checks to make sure it doesnâ€™t happen againâ€. But it emerged yesterday that the authority has lost even more cash to the mobile phone scam.