Beer barrels nicked from British parliament
LONDON - Agence France-Presse
AP photoFour barrels of beer, a bottle of champagne and a bicycle repair kit have been reported stolen from Britain's parliament in recent months, official records showed Tuesday.
A flower arrangement, two iPads, a passport and a printer were also among 36 reported thefts from June up to March 22, according to the House of Commons Commission.
Ten laptop computers, cash, a watch, a medal, two mobile phones, a souvenir, two bags and a trolley with a consignment of books were also on the list.
The Palace of Westminster in central London is surrounded by tight security, with armed police guarding its entrances and patrolling the parliamentary estate.
But the list showed up some light-fingered work going on inside the iconic building.
The thieves' haul was revealed following a question by lawmaker Keith Vaz, who chairs the lower House of Commons' Home Affairs Select Committee scrutiny body.
Vaz had a laptop and iPad stolen from his Westminster office last year.
"I was shocked and very disappointed to hear that, despite being one of the most secure buildings in Britain, in the first three months of 2012 we have already reached 50 percent of the thefts of last year," he said.
"It seems clear that people are operating within the House of Commons and I hope the authorities will apprehend these individuals quickly." The written answer to his question was published Tuesday in Hansard, the official record of parliamentary business.
Last month there was a suspected break-in at opposition leader Ed Miliband's parliamentary offices.