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Friday, 11 August, 2000, 21:01 GMT 22:01 UK
Enigma theft remains a mystery
Enigma machine
The Nazis thought their codes were unbreakable
Police believe an Enigma code machine taken four months ago from Bletchley Park Museum may have been stolen to order.

The World War II machine, worth around 100,000, helped crack codes used by the Nazis and is one of only three in existence.

Enigma machine
Enigma: the fate of the machine is unknown

It was stolen on 1 April during an open day at the museum where, during the war under the moniker Station X, a team of mathematicians worked to crack the German codes.

Police have renewed their call for information about the theft after fingerprinting hundreds of people who visited the museum on 1 April, and ruling them out of their inquiries.

A spokesman for Thames Valley police said: "We have a couple of theories about the theft. It may have been stolen to order.

"There is a large market for World War II memorabilia and it could have ended up in the market."

Rare machine

Due to the historical significance and rarity of the machine, police believe it unlikely that it was stolen and then sold through conventional black market channels.

"Perhaps someone stole it and does not realise just how unique it is," added the spokesman.

The fate of the machine is becoming as enigmatic as the history of the machine itself.

There are plans to turn the wartime story of Enigma into a blockbuster movie, focussing on the work of the British codebreakers.

British Telecom, owners of Bletchley Park, are offering a 5,000 reward and officials at the museum have extended a plea to the thief not to destroy the machine.

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