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Monday, 11 December, 2000, 10:11 GMT
MI5 agent 'left briefcase on train'
MI5 Headquarters
Spy chiefs said there was no risk to national security
A government agent has sparked a security alert after leaving his briefcase on a train.

The MI5 man realised his briefcase containing secret papers was missing when he arrived for a meeting in Dorset last month.

A Home Office spokeswoman told BBC News Online the briefcase was missing, but she said the missing papers constituted "no breach of national security.

The briefcase went missing from an unnamed station in Dorset.

Spy bosses ordered police to search every train and station on the line.


The security service did an immediate risk assessment and concluded there had been no breach of national security

Home Office
Home Office officials have admitted the papers are still missing and appealed for anyone who found them to hand them back.

British spies have earned a reputation recently for mislaying their property.

A series of similar blunders have included a laptop computer being stolen from another MI5 operative, an MI6 spy losing his computer in a tapas bar and a senior Army official's laptop being stolen at Heathrow Airport.

'No risk'

Armed forces minister John Spellar, the government minister in charge of Britain's nuclear secrets, had his laptop stolen during a burglary at his home in Kent in March.

A Home Office spokeswoman urged anyone who found the latest missing papers to hand them in to their nearest police station.

She said: "We understand that some papers were lost. We would appeal to anybody who knows the whereabouts of these to come forward and contact the police.

"As is normal procedure the security service did an immediate risk assessment and concluded there had been no breach of national security.

"The matter was reported to the police and they are aware of the loss.

"We have established procedures for looking into the loss of items and these procedure are constantly under review."

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See also:

26 May 00 | UK Politics
Mystery of stolen Whitehall laptops
22 May 00 | UK
Stolen MoD laptop recovered
28 Mar 00 | UK
Second spy loses laptop
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