A police officer received a whopping £12,000 compensation payout after being bitten by a FLEA while at work.
The unnamed cop was handed £12,127 in damages after he successfully sued West Midlands Police which also had to fork out £4,185 in legal fees.
The barmy case was just one of a number of workplace injury claims to the force which paid £61,131 in compensation between April 1 last year and March 31.
Today (Wed) the payout was branded “ludicrous” by former Lib Dem leader Tim Farron and former officers said compensation culture is rife in forces throughout Britain.
Mr Farron said: ‘Our cops do an amazing job keeping us safe. Compensation should be paid for injuries at work but some of these claims seem to take the biscuit.
‘It’s frankly ludicrous that taxpayers are footing the bill for when someone gets fleas on them.
‘It’s utterly barmy and will harm public confidence in the police.’
Chloe Westley, campaign manager for the TaxPayer’s Alliance,added: ‘At a time when taxpayers are feeling the pinch and departments are having to find necessary savings, these payments will certainly sting.
‘Of course compensation payouts will sometimes be necessary because accidents can ruin lives, but it still falls on public sector organisations to make sure they are rooting out anyone making spurious claims with taxpayers’ cash.’
A Freedom of Information request revealed the force was sued by 14 serving police officers and various other staff members for a range of other bizarre work place injuries.
One officer who tripped at work was given payments in excess of £5,000, while two cops who were injured due to ‘manual handling’ were given £6,000 and £8,573.30.
Another was handed £7,274 compensation for defective equipment used while on the job.
Former West Midlands Police officer Ray Egan, who served on the force from 1967 to 1993, said the payouts ‘beggar belief’.
He said: ‘It’s absolutely baffling. I can’t believe that.
‘I was a policeman for over 20 years, and I can’t even imagine what would have happened if I’d gone to my senior officer and started moaning because I’d been bitten by a flea.
‘I’d have been kicked out the office with a clipping round the ear, I’d have thought.
‘I’d have been told to get back to doing my job. There’s no way they would have allowed that.
‘Times are a bit hard still, and to have the audacity to make a claim that on tax payer’s money is extraordinary.
‘It’s gone soft, it really has.
‘All I can say is that I’m glad that I’ve retired. Compensation culture if rife across many forces in this country.’
A West Midlands Police spokesperson said: ‘A police officer received a settlement after receiving a flea bit at work that result in emergency surgery.
‘Compensation pay-outs are only made following the assessment of appropriate medical evidence by insurers and solicitors who then make a recommendation to the force as to what the pay-out should be.
‘The force does have liability insurance in place which operates in respect of compensation claims made as a result of injury.’