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Sunday, March 29, 1998 Published at 15:43 GMT 16:43 UK

UK: Politics

Inquiry after PM home security breach
image: [ Security has been stepped up at the Blairs' home in Trimdon ]
Security has been stepped up at the Blairs' home in Trimdon

An inquiry is under way after top secret plans detailing security and anti-terrorist measures at the constituency home of the British prime minister were revealed in an apparent security blunder.

Home Secretary Jack STraw acknowledges the dangers of the security breach ('0 ''9).
The Home Secretary Jack Straw ordered the investigation after the Sunday Times newspaper reported that the plans were available at a public records office.

The documents outlined how Tony Blair could escape a terrorist attack on his Victorian home in Trimdon, County Durham.

The Sunday Times said any member of the public could see and sketch copies of the blue prints by handing over 11.75 to Sedgefield District Council.

[ image: Security cameras are in operation]
Security cameras are in operation
Security at Mr Blair's Trimdon home was beefed up after he became prime minister in May 1997.

Planning applications for the work reveal that the house includes a secret escape route for Mr Blair and his family in the event of a terrorist attack.

The plans also list the location of infra-red cameras and motion sensors, as well as details of the special 24-hour security operations command centre built next door.

Anybody reading the documents would be able to learn precise information about the types of locks used around the house's 'security buffer zone', and take away details of two perimeter fences and mirrors used by the police to watch blind spots.

A Home Office spokesman said Mr Straw was "very concerned" that the information was in the public domain.

"He has ordered an immediate inquiry and has asked for the material to be withdrawn," the spokesman said.

Brian Stephens, leader of Sedgefield district council, said the Home Office was responsible for the Mr Blair's safety.

"Our people brought the application to the attention of the Home Office but were told that they didn't think it was sensitive," he said.

"The Home Office had to ask for the application details to be withdrawn, but this wasn't done. I imagine they will do now.

"All the council does is consider the application, we are not responsible for the safety of the prime minister.

"Mr Blair's home in Trimdon is like Fort Knox. We will be in touch with the Home Office to make our views known."

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