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UK police accuse PIA crew of stealing goods

April 13, 2012

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A PIA Boeing 777 stands on the tarmac at Stockholm Arlanda International airport on September 25, 2010.—AFP

KARACHI: The United Kingdom police have asked the PIA management to stop its crewmembers, including airhostesses and stewards, from stealing goods from hotels and shops during their stay in that country, it is learnt reliably.

According to sources, a superintendent of Greater Manchester Police, North Manchester Division, Stuart Ellison, said in a communication to the Pakistan International Airlines: “I would be grateful if PIA could confirm by return the steps it will take internally to support us as we look to solve this problem together.”

After repeated attempts to contact him, PIA spokesman Sultan Hassan said the query had been communicated to the department concerned and its response was awaited.

Mr Ellison said that retailers, hoteliers and individuals had been voicing concerns over the conduct of PIA crew. The goods stolen form hotels included gowns, towels, kettles and glasses, he said.

Some of the key retailers from the Market Street Area of Manchester were regularly detaining PIA crew for shoplifting offences.

He said PIA’s reputation was at stake because if a hotel filed a complaint, police would have to take action and detain the suspect/s and without a backup / standby crew available the aircraft might be delayed.

“Often the relatively low value of stolen property, the fact that your crew have openly disclosed that they’re returning to Pakistan the following day and the fact that the store has recovered its property has meant that police arrests have not been sought.

However, given that there may be three PIA crews in the city at one time, the regularity of reports of theft (shoplifting) by PIA crew has increased to a point where positive action has to be taken.”

He said that following a complaint, “an arrest is made, your staff members will be processed at our Custody Suite and, because of them being overseas nationals who we cannot verify at a UK address — and thereby assure ourselves that they would answer bail if released, they will be kept in custody overnight and detained to appear in court the following day”.