FRAUD officers at Scottish Borders Council launched an enquiry last year after two laptops were 'stolen'.

But the computers later turned up at NHS Borders - having been delivered to the wrong address.

Police weren't called in during the incident last May, but officers were deployed to Newtown St Boswells to provide security advice during a spate of thefts from work desks.

The hardware howler and in-house thefts have been listed in an annual report into counter-fraud work carried out at the local authority during 2017/18.

As well as probing the missing laptops, officers also investigated a member of staff within an arms-length organisation of Scottish Borders Council following a tip-off.

After evidence of fraud was uncovered the member of staff resigned.

During 2017/18 the counter fraud department also confiscated a forged Blue Badge and recovered a £650 Educational Maintenance Allowance paid to a parent who didn't qualify.

Officers also averted three phishing attempts to steal money from the local authority.

But the biggest caseload came with the National Fraud Initiative (NFI) data matching project.

The joint exercise run by the Cabinet Office and Audit Scotland identified data discrepancies held by various public organisations to detect possible Council Tax single-person-discount.

Of the 1,703 matches found in the Borders, a total of 129 cases were identified for investigation.

The probe found 53 single-person discount cases were being claimed fraudulently or in error.

There were a further 10 cases where insufficient evidence was gathered to identify if a fraud had occurred.

The National Fraud Initiative data matching also led to £20,536 in Housing Benefit overpayments being recovered last year.

And further data cross-checking will continue this year in a bid to identify Council Tax, Licensing and Payroll fraud.

Counter fraud officer Gary Smith stated: "The council is committed to minimising the risk of loss due to fraud, theft or corruption by putting in place effective internal control systems designed to prevent and detect fraud.

"And at the same time taking appropriate action against those who attempt to defraud the council, whether from within the

authority or from outside."