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Last Updated: Tuesday, 11 November, 2003, 17:34 GMT
Laptops stolen from MTV awards
Justin Timberlake
Justin Timberlake won three awards
Police are investigating the theft of computer equipment containing vital information from the site of last week's MTV awards ceremony in Edinburgh.

Laptops holding details of how the area was transformed into an arena to host the glittering event were stolen from MTV's onsite office, in the former Royal Yacht Britannia visitor centre.

The equipment, worth 5,000, also contained records of payments due to dozens of contractors who worked on the arena in Leith.

MTV production manager Dominique Peissel, whose laptop was stolen said he believed someone had been hiding in the office, waiting until staff had gone before stealing them.

He said: "The computer's not the important thing, it's the information that was on the hard drive that's important."

This theft is obviously very disappointing to us considering the awards went so well
MTV spokeswoman
Staff locked and left the office empty for 10 minutes on Sunday night but upon their return, they found a fire exit door open and the equipment missing.

The awards, which were viewed by one billion people and attracted pop stars such as Justin Timberlake, Beyonce Knowles and Christina Aguilera, were hailed by tourism chiefs as a spectacular PR coup for Scotland.

But the theft has hit a sour note with MTV bosses who last week praised the glitzy pop party, which generated 4m for the local economy, as a complete success.


MTV is offering a reward for the return of the hard drive containing the data, which included nine years of records and nearly 6,000 photos from previous MTV ceremonies.

An MTV spokeswoman said: "We are pleading with whoever took this equipment to return it to the manager in the office at Ocean Terminal.

"We will pay a reward for the return of the equipment, no questions asked.

"This theft is obviously very disappointing to us considering the awards went so well."

Three computers, including an Apple Macintosh Powerbook laptop and a Sony Vaio laptop, along with headphones and accessories, were stolen.

The equipment also contained details of work by about 50 local firms, which provided security, catering, furnishings, fencing and hairdressing for the awards.

The contractors were expected to be asked to re-send all the invoices and look likely to face a delay in payment.

Lothian and Borders Police confirmed that the robbery happened between 1925 GMT and 1935 GMT on Sunday 9 November.

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