Investigation into electrical faults launched

A POLICE investigation has been launched into the electrical faults which have plagued Angus Council since February.

The faults at County Buildings in Forfar were initially believed to be unexplained, but they are now being treated as suspicious after a joint inquiry by Tayside Police and Tayside Fire and Rescue.

The focus was several incidents in April when there were reports of sockets melting on walls at the Market Street offices.

Tayside Police confirmed the CID investigation at the end of last week, which is running alongside the council’s own attempts to stop the electrical problems which prompted the movement of around 180 staff last month to alternative premises.

Detective Inspector Ally Waghorn, who is leading the investigation, said: “Although the damage identified is relatively minor and no one has been injured as a consequence of this incidents, the potential for harm and indeed significant damage is clear.

“I would appeal to anyone who can assist us with our enquiries to get in touch with us.”

Police said that, during the course of the investigation, officers will speaking with staff and visitors to the council building.

A Tayside Police spokesman added: “At the same time they would appeal to anyone who has information useful to enquiries to call them on 0300 111 2222, or speak to any officer.

“Alternatively, information can be passed anonymously via the charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”

The faults at the building have caused the local authority ongoing issues since February 18 and most services were disrupted.

It is thought that countless e-mails to and from council staff were lost, and staff were also disrupted many times in March due to a fire alarm going off repeatedly.

The services mainly affected were planning, roads, economic development and environmental and consumer protection.

The same month officers ordered a shutdown of the council’s electronic communications hub to try to track down the source of the power supply problems.

On April 15 the decision was taken to close the offices and relocate staff due to health and safety concerns over reports that power sockets caught fire and melted as staff watched.

A council spokeswoman this week said: “Other than to confirm that Angus Council is assisting Tayside Police, the council is unable to comment further as the matter is the subject of a formal police investigation.

“The council stresses that work to rectify the original electrical supply problem at County Buildings is continuing.”