CIVIL servants have described their shock after fraud squad officers swooped on their offices and arrested a woman at her desk.
The 48-year-old administrative officer from Poulton has been arrested on suspicion of fraud and money laundering after police made the early morning sting at Warbreck House.
Two police vans pulled up outside the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) office in Bispham and a team of plain clothes and uniformed officers then spent an hour searching the room after the DWP administrative officer had been led out of the premises.
A shocked member of staff told The Gazette: “I couldn’t believe it.
“The police just burst in first thing in the morning and arrested her there and then.”
It is believed the police were called in to carry out the arrest on behalf of the DWP after an internal investigation in relation to payment irregularities at the department.
Administrative officers based in the unit are responsible for confirming individual benefit claimant case details and inputting the account information.
A job description on the DWP website says the role entails operating “more independently” than normal administrative staff.
Police today confirmed they had launched an investigation and bailed a DWP employee while they continue to gather evidence.
A Lancashire Police spokesman said: “A 48-year-old woman from Poulton has been arrested on suspicion of fraud by false representation and also money laundering.
“She has been released on bail until June 2 pending further inquiries.”
Bosses at the DWP said an investigation was ongoing and had been passed on to detectives. A spokesman added: “We can confirm that an arrest has been made and it is now a police matter.”