A blunder which left taxpayers with a £3,000 bill when a Latvian interpreter was wrongly sent to help a Lithuanian who had stolen two 10p plastic bags has been admitted by police.
An investigation was launched after the interpreter was sent hundreds of miles to translate for Tadas Tarkutis, 26, before realising she spoke a different language.
After Tarkutis was jailed for the theft earlier this month, a probe was launched after both the force and translation firm Capita blamed the mistake on each other.
But Capita has now been cleared of any wrongdoing, and North Yorkshire Police have apologised, blaming the mistake on “simple human error”.
Tarkutis was arrested after he stole the two “bags for life” from the Sainsbury’s store in Scarborough. Officers found a Lithuanian translator who made a 120-mile round trip from Harrogate, to spend around four hours with him in custody. But the same translator was not available when Tarkutis appeared in court the following morning and a Latvian speaker was mistakenly summoned from Capita.
The woman set off from Rugby – only to find she had made a wasted six-hour, 320-mile round trip when she arrived at the magistrates’ court in Scarborough.
With no-one able to speak for him, Tarkutis was remanded in custody and returned to the court the following day.
This time, a Lithuanian translator was correctly supplied and Tarkutis, from Birmingham, admitted the crime. He was jailed for six weeks because he was in breach of a suspended sentence.
A force spokesman said: “North Yorkshire Police apologises for this error.”