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Sunday, 2 April, 2000, 14:55 GMT 15:55 UK
Enigma machine stolen

An enigma machine which was used by the German army to encode messages during the Second World War has been stolen from an English museum.

The machine, one of only three in the world, was taken from Bletchley Park - a country house where mathematicians, linguists and chess champions laboured in secret to break the enigma code, which the German high command thought was uncrackable.

The trust which runs the house has appealed for help in retrieving the machine, which it described as a unique piece of history.

The work carried out at Bletchley Park - which was codenamed Station X - is thought to have helped shorten the war by several years. Britain's wartime leader Winston Churchill called its staff the geese that laid the golden eggs - and never cackled.

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