02/10/2008

Computer Containing 'Sensitive' Information Stolen

An MI5 hand-held computer believed to contain sensitive information about tackling terrorism has been stolen from a house in the Greater Manchester area.

Police revealed the item - a palmtop device - was stolen by a burglar on Sunday night, who had got into the house through an open window.

The house had been rented by the intelligence service. It is thought the information on the device was encrypted so it would be impossible for any of the information to be accessed.

A spokesman for the Greater Manchester Police, said: "Shortly after 11.20pm police were called to a house in Greater Manchester, following reports of a burglary.

"An encrypted handheld computer was stolen. It is believed the offender entered through an open window. Inquiries are ongoing."

The spokesman also appealed to anyone offered the stolen property to return it to the nearest police station.

The incident is the latest in series of similar security breaches. On Monday, it was reported a civil servant is to be charged under the Official Secrets Act, after sensitive documents were left on a train in June.

The Ministry of Defence also admitted 658 of its laptop computers have been stolen in the last four years.

(JM)

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