Merseyside police are facing embarrassing questions today on how they lost their remote controlled traffic monitoring helicopter.
"I've not exactly lost it," said Constable Ray Mote, who is in charge of the unmanned craft. "I know exactly where it is. It's in the Mersey."
During a routine operation the Unmanned Autonomous Vehicle was following a suspect in a stolen car when the car went into one of the Mersey tunnels.
"I started to fly the device across to the other side of the Mersey to wait for the suspect to emerge," said Mote. "Unfortunately, it ran out of fuel half way across."
PC Mote had not checked the fuel gauge on the UAV before setting off on the quarter mile journey to the other side of the Mersey.
"These helicopters are worth sixteen grand," said Chief Inspector Dean Mote, of the Merseyside Constabulary. "He's not getting another one until I know he can look after it."
PC Mote is quite apologetic.
"I told my dad, I mean the Chief Inspector, that I was really sorry," said Ray Mote. "I even said I'd go and get it, but he reminded me that we're still looking for the last officer who swam in the Mersey."
"When the officers under my jurisdiction cannot take basic care of the toys we give them," said Dean Mote, "then they can just do without them. They need to learn this important lesson. Especially Ray, he's feckless. It was the same with his flute."