British Military Secrets Reportedly Discovered In Trash Pile
May. 01, 1985
LONDON (AP) _ Britain's Defense Ministry said Wednesday it is investigating the discovery of classified defense documents in a London trash dump by two teen-age boys.
''Somebody has been careless and we want to put our house in order,'' the Daily Mail newspaper quoted an unnamed ministry official as saying. ''The documents should have been shredded, not left on some public dump for anyone to read.''
The newspaper, in what it termed an exclusive report, said one of the documents found in the southeast London waste heap was a service and repair manual for the British Tornado jet fighter.
The manual was marked ''NATO restricted'' and included diagrams and specifications of the plane's engine, fuel system, and ground-mapping radar, the paper said.
The other document was a plan of a proposed new security fence at the Aldermaston nuclear research center 40 miles west of London, it said, adding that the plan included the position of buildings and anti-intruder alarms.
A ministry press officer, who in accordance with British practice declined to be named, said: ''I can confirm that Ministry of Defense documents classified restricted were found, and that an investigation is now in progress. I cannot comment further.''
The Daily Mail said Lee-Roy Amis, 12, and Stephen Henderson, 15, found the documents on a dump on the premises of a firm of waste-paper merchants, J.J. Maybank Ltd., at Charlton in southeast London. The firm gathers waste paper and sells it to recycling companies.
Conservative Party legislator Sir Anthony Buck, chairman of the Tory defense committee in the House of Commons, expressed dismay at the report.
''It must be a matter of grave concern that documents emanating from the Ministry of Defense should end up blowing about some rubbish dump,'' he said. ''It shows a lack of proper control of sensitive material.''
The Daily Mail said the boys were on their way fishing when they found themselves near the dump. It quoted Henderson as saying: ''There was a big gap in the fence and no one patrols there, so we just walked through to look for old magazines.''
The boys took the documents home and Amis's father, Michael Amis, called the police.
''I asked what we should do with the documents and the police at (nearby) Greenwich (police station) said: 'Chuck them in the dustbin (trash can).' I couldn't believe it,'' the newspaper quoted the elder Amis as saying.
Michael Amis then took the documents to the Daily Mail, which contacted the Defense Ministry, the paper said.