Last updateTue, 17 Mar 2015 2pm

#Bananas: BBC London HQ "Swarming with Petty Thieves" nicking yogurt and TROUSERS

The BBC’s massive new headquarters in Central London is “swarming with petty thieves” who are stealing everything from Bananas and, bizarrely, trousers owned by staff.

According to reports, staff members at the £1 billion New Broadcasting House (NBH) have complained of losing a range of personal items including a Pashmina shawl, a cardigan, bananas, sandwiches, cakes, yogurt cups and change left on desks. 

The BBC's in-house magazine Ariel confirmed on Tuesday that NBH is experiencing "increasing numbers of petty thefts", most of which take place at night.

BBC economics editor Robert Peston confirmed that three letters addressed to him were pinched from his desk recently.

He told Ariel: "The letters went missing from my desk at New Broadcasting House - good thing I am so boring and have no secrets."

Another BBC worker, Ruth Alexander, said a parcel containing a black cardigan had been pinched from her desk.

She said: "It was an unopened delivery box from Benetton that I'd tucked well beneath my desk, so someone must have been having a good root around to find it.

"It was a black cardigan, size small, if anyone sees it on eBay."

Production worker Gemma Ashman had three bananas and 60p in loose change pinched from her desk and Smita Patel had her lunch and pashmina pinched.

One BBC worker, who asked not to be named, said: "The thefts are definitely on the rise - last week someone had their lunchbox stolen from a fridge on the 5th floor and someone else had a pair of trousers they had collected from the dry cleaner pinched.

"Every day you hear of other things going missing - bananas, yoghurts, loose change - the list goes on and on.

"If it's not nailed down it's very likely it will be lifted."

Another worker said: "The place is swarming with petty thieves who think nothing of taking your lunch or dinner - or the spare change from your desk.

"Leave anything lying around at your own peril."

Thefts are believed to have increased in the past two months - but petty thefts were first noticed in September 2013 when someone stole a six-pack of Iceland chocolate mousses from a fridge at NBH.

The BBC worker pinned a note on the fridge reading: "To the person who keeps stealing my chocolate mousse from Iceland, please stop - For the sake of £1, you too could buy a six-pack of small pots and bring in your own."

"It may just be a dessert for you, but for me it reminds me of my teenage years, is something I use as a reward after a hard day's work and is something I honestly look forward to."

Scott Noble, an operations manager at the BBC, said "theft is theft" no matter what it is.

He said: "It doesn't matter if it's a £50,000 asset or a 20p yoghurt, theft is theft.

"If the issues are reported, and there's an underlying theme, it's incumbent on us to do something about it.

"'Robert Peston's letters - that's deliberate and should be reported, as should the theft of food or tea bags."

Some of the problems are blamed on hot-desking, the BBC policy that nobody has "their own desk" and sit wherever they find a desk.

Bosses at the corporation say staff should comply with the "clear desk policy" to stop their personal items being stolen.

Andy Baker, the man charged with relocating more than 6000 staff to NBH, said: "We do like people to move around - we don't like them to sit in the same place.

"The whole essence of this building is its flexibility and collaborative spirit. It shouldn't come as a surprise that someone's sat at your desk when you're not using it."



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