Nine illegal immigrants disappeared after they were given free train tickets by police and told to make their own way to a detention centre more than 60 miles away.
The move was described as "ludicrous", but police have defended their actions, saying they were acting on the advice of immigration authorities.
The men, who are from Afghanistan, were discovered by Cambridgeshire police under the back of a lorry in Fordham, near Newmarket.
They were apprehended by officers before being given train tickets and told by police to make their own way to an immigration facility in Croydon, Surrey.
But none of the men arrived at the centre and they have not been seen since.
Well, who would ever have thought that people who break the law in order to enter the country would be anything other than 100% keen to follow the rules once they got here? Not any of the bunglers in charge of managing (ha!) immigration, certainly.
Cambridgeshire police say they were acting under instruction from officials at the Border and Immigration Agency (BIA), a Home Office department.
But officials at the BIA denied such guidance was issued and insisted they had asked for the nine men to be held in custody so that they could be interviewed.
Frankly, I couldn't care less who screwed up this time. The fact is, that for all the efforts to pass the buck that the petty jobsworths in the police and the BIA seem to be engaging in, they are both government agencies, and specifically Home Office agencies. And it doesn't really matter to me whether Home Office Agency A was at fault, or whether the blame instead lies with Home Office Agency B - the end result is the same either way.
The fact is, that there have been far, far, far too many Home Office cock-ups over immigration already (see here, here, here, here, here, and here), with today's example just the latest in a very long line of blunders. The sheer incompetence that the government and its agencies have consistently demonstrated in their management of immigration is what really bothers me, not the question of which government agency was to blame for each specific cock-up. But, having said that, the lack of anyone willing, on this occasion or any other, to come out and admit that they got it wrong, rather than always pathetically trying to shift responsibility onto someone else, does serve to add insult to injury.