Why that expensive? and why lost?
Folks, this is the BBC. Their reporters are regularly out in warzones and other places round the arse-end of the world (such as Birmingham or Wales. ;) So let's get real, shall we?
Why so much for a laptop? Well, a laptop which can survive being dropped whilst diving for cover from a sniper, or put up with driving rain whilst reporting in some industrial-desert Welsh valley, is worth paying extra for. If the BBC were equipping their front-line reporters with anything *less* than a Toughbook (or equivalent), I'd be seriously disappointed. Contrary to Mickey above, £800 does *NOT* get you a top-spec laptop when the "spec" is survivability - ruggedised laptops generally run £1K as the lowest-spec starting price. Since the BBC probably need laptops which can also do a bit of video editting and run real-time broadcast-quality video link compression/decompression and encryption/decryption, £1.5K per laptop is not half bad.
Of course, if they're actually only getting netbooks for that price then it *would* be a sourcing snafu. But the article doesn't say.
And why lost? For front-line reporters, there's bullets, bombs, shrapnel, falling masonry and other assorted high-speed flying debris. Locals robbing you at gunpoint is also a hazard of the job. Anywhere round the world, there's also corrupt officials stealing stuff, or you may need to leg it out of town one step ahead of whoever doesn't want stories about them hitting the news. Or simply parking somewhere in Britain and having some scrote put a brick through your side window while you're getting a bacon sarny.