SCOTS police had to turn a station upside down in an unsuccessful search – for a missing bullet worth 25p.
The high-velocity rifle round was discovered missing during a routine changeover procedure on weapons and ammunition at Baird Street station in Glasgow.
Bosses ordered an investigation into the whereabouts of the .223 cartridge but never got to the bottom of the mystery.
The blunder was revealed in a Freedom of Information request to the force which asked for details about lost and missing weapons.
Police Scotland said that no firearms had been lost but admitted the bullet went astray in March 2014 during a “changeover procedure”.
According to the FOI document: “The round was discovered missing/unaccounted for on 30th March 2014 by an Armed Policing officer during weapons/ammunition changeover procedure at Baird Street Police Office, Glasgow.
“A full search of the area was carried out, but the round was not recovered.”
The document read: “The missing round was subject of an internal enquiry at a senior level, which included a detailed area search, however the round was not recovered.”
Police Scotland insisted the blunder cost nothing more than the 25p price of the bullet.
The FOI document also revealed: “Apart from the approximate cost of this single round, the officers who were involved in working on this internal enquiry were doing so as part of their normal duties…”
In 2014 the police ordered a consignment of 40,000 extra bullets for security at Glasgow’s Commonwealth Games.
It is not known whether the loss of the bullet was related to the handling of the extra ammunition.
The .223 round is the civilian equivalent of the military 5.56mm cartridge fired from rifles used by NATO forces.
The 2.26 inch (57mm) long cartridge is typically used in the police’s G36 Heckler and Koch semi-automatic carbines.
Despite its small calibre, the bullet has a muzzle velocity in excess of 3,000 feet per second, meaning it can penetrate most body armour and cause appalling wounds.
Baird Street police station was at the centre of a firearms-related tragedy in November 2012 when an officer was shot dead.
PC Rod Gellatly, 41, was reported at the time to have “turned the gun on himself” after turning up for work as normal in the morning.
The firearms officer with the former Strathclyde force was was believed to have obtained a weapon from the firearms room.
No-one else was believed to have been involved in the incident.