Home Secretary Jacqui Smith has announced new measures to address the escalating problem of burglary. The number of domestic break-ins rose by 4 per cent to 69,000 between July and September last year as the country slipped into recession.
Key to the scheme is a special Government hotline allowing homeowners to claim a 15% discount voucher to be used at B&Q to help buy home security products such as window locks.
However, before the public could apply for the vouchers they had nearly all been taken up by MP's who claimed an average of four vouchers each.
"This is completely in keeping with House of Commons Rules," one MP claimed. "We can only claim for free security products for our first two or three homes. It is quite reasonable that we should get the 15% discount for any other property we own."
B&Q said most of these vouchers had been redeemed against forged banknote checkers, expense-record-sized paper shredders and safes for storing both cash and questions.