Theft and domestic violence are just some of the reasons Merton Council has suspended staff WITH pay since the start of 2014.

A Freedom of Information request from the Wimbledon Times revealed that in the past five years, 47 council employees have continued to be paid while not working, but only nine were subsequently dismissed.

This accounted for a whopping total of 6,007 days of paid suspensions, or in other terms, £469,000 of money the council paid people not to work.

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While the average length of a suspension was 127 days and cost the council £11,729, there were at least a few outliers

The longest amount of time someone was suspended with pay was 503 days, while the shortest was just 15.

The difference continued in terms of money, with the biggest cost falling at £49,201, with the least amount coming to just £379.

A spokeswoman for Merton Council said they were unable to comment on individual cases.

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"However it is important to note that such cases can be highly complex and in fairness to all involved we must ensure that they are thoroughly investigated," she said.

“Suspension is part of the council’s disciplinary procedure and as a neutral act it is normally with pay.”

But the FOI was able to reveal the general reasons the suspensions were handed out.

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These were: breach of conduct, failure to disclose conviction, fraud, domestic violence, inappropriate behaviour, safeguarding, racial discrimination, unauthorised absence, criminal conviction, non-disclosure of additional work, visa expiry, bullying, drugs, mismanagement, financial irregularities, theft and failure to follow instruction.