PIA Staff Caught Stealing In Manchester
Pakistan International Airlines cabin crew caught shoplifting in UK
Police in Manchester have met officials of an international airline over claims that cabin crew have been caught shoplifting in the city.
Police requested the meeting with Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) over concerns raised by retailers.
The PIA staff are accused of stealing goods from key retailers and hotels in the city centre.
The airline said it was taking the claims seriously and anyone found to have acted illegally would be sacked.
An email from Supt Stuart Ellison to PIA, which was subsequently leaked to the Pakistani press, said: "Some stores are regularly detaining cabin crew for shoplifting offences. Goods of a relatively low value have been stolen.
"Hotels where the airline crews have stayed have also reported items such as towels, kettles, gowns and glasses being taken."
'Reputation at stake'
The officer also disclosed that when the alleged thieves were caught they had told store staff they were not British nationals and were due to return to Pakistan the next day.
Nobody has been arrested so far as police have not made any formal investigations.
In the email Supt Ellison said the airline'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 or standby crew available the aircraft might be delayed".
The majority of the thefts have been in the Market Street and Cross Street areas.
PIA public relations general manager, Sultan Hassan told BBC Asian Network: "We are taking the allegation seriously.
"Our local office in Manchester had a detailed meeting with the police a few weeks ago and our new manager there will also meet with them in a few weeks."
He added: "The cabin crew is properly briefed, we have proper procedures to deal with this.
"If a person is charged with an illegal act, he or she will be dismissed from the service."
Mr Hassan said nobody had been arrested and detectives had not passed on the names of any individuals "or indeed any proof that this has actually happened".
A GMP statement said: "We are working alongside the company and have gained their support to ensure such incidents do not take place again."