Two workers suspended over council homes scrap sale

TWO council workers have been suspended over allegations they were involved in the sale of scrap metal ripped from residential buildings.

The pair have been placed on leave from their jobs at Edinburgh Building Services over claims thousands of pounds of materials were sold for profit.

The local authority 
department is tasked with renovating kitchens and bathrooms as part of the government’s Scottish Housing Quality Standard scheme to improve the quality of council homes.

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A range of metals – including valuable cast iron and copper piping – had allegedly been removed during refurbishments in the Sighthill area and sold to scrap merchants.

Edinburgh City Council confirmed that disciplinary proceedings have been taken but refused to discuss the matter further. The two suspended workers were team leaders in the department.

Cameron Rose, leader of the Edinburgh Conservatives and a former police inspector, said the incident cast a shadow on the reputation of the local authority.

He said: “Yet another incident casting doubt on the reputation of Edinburgh council doesn’t inspire confidence for taxpayers. Edinburgh has been hit by a number of issues recently and it’s important that this behaviour is rooted out.”

In October 2011 the Evening News first revealed that two other members of staff, a plumber and a labourer from Edinburgh Building Services, were suspended over the same claims while working in the Calders area of Sighthill. One later returned to work and another left his post.

It has now emerged that the two team leaders were also suspended around the same time, only to return to work again. However, they faced hearings in December and were immediately sent home.

Valuable cast-iron baths, copper piping and lead which can be sold on to scrap merchants are said to have been stripped from the properties and then shared out between a number of staff.

Head of Housing, Cathy King, said: “We investigated the 
allegations and have taken appropriate action under the council’s disciplinary processes.”

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Edinburgh Building Services are separate to the Property Conservation and Property Care departments caught up in the statutory repairs scandal.

Two workers in the property conservation department, which issues compulsory repairs to tenements, are currently on leave with a further four sacked and two resigned.

One worker from the property care department, which handles work to public buildings, is also on leave, with 17 others charged over allegations of criminal conduct.