Database of top-secret police phone taps stolen

By Ruth Elkins

Police chiefs have launched a major investigation after the theft of a computer database containing thousands of top-secret mobile phone records from terrorism and organised crime investigations.

Scotland Yard is concerned that crucial evidence from undercover investigations could be lost forever or has found its way into “the wrong hands” after the computer and other IT equipment disappeared from a private firm in Sevenoaks, Kent, last Monday night after a break-in.

Forensic Telecommunications Services, whose clients include Scotland Yard, The Police Service of Northern Ireland, HM Revenue and Customs and the Crown Prosecution Service, specialises in tapping mobile phone calls made by criminal suspects. The stolen security-protected server contained the minutiae of phone calls it had screened, including the identity of the person who had made the call, as well as the exact time and location of the suspect when the call was made.

In a statement released to The Mail on Sunday, Forensic Telecommunications Services confirmed that the equipment had been stolen from its offices but denied that its disappearance would impact negatively on current police cases.