TAZEWELL, Tenn. (AP) - The Tennessee Comptroller's Office says an investigation has revealed that Claiborne County inmates and sheriff's litter officers received more than $23,000 from selling scrap metal.

It says Claiborne County litter patrol officers and inmates say it's a "long-established" practice for officers to collect scrap metal and sell it to buy inmates on litter patrol lunches, snacks, and tobacco products.

A Friday agency statement says state law requires payments for scrap metal sold by a government entity to be made by check or money order to the governmental entity. Claiborne County, however, does not have a formal policy on the handling of recyclable materials.

The comptroller's office recommended the county adopt a written policy on the collection and sale of recyclable materials.

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