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Suffolk: Thefts worth £50,000 from military bases

PUBLISHED: 13:45 25 January 2013 | UPDATED: 13:45 25 January 2013

RAF Honington.

RAF Honington.

MINISTRY of Defence tools and equipment worth nearly £50,000 have been stolen from Suffolk military bases over the last five years.

According to figures released under the Freedom of Information Act, security at Suffolk military bases has been breached 18 times, with the thefts totalling £46,906.15 between 2007 and last year.

Four dummy non-firing Drill Purpose weapons – unable to be converted into live firing weapons – and 40 non firing dummy Drill Rounds were stolen from Suffolk ACF, Lowestoft in September 2010, with one Drill Purpose weapon recovered.

In April 2008, 250 pairs of green and sand coloured camouflage combat trousers were taken from RAF Honington, while two machetes and fuel were taken from Wattisham Station on August 27, 2009 without being recovered.

A mine detector and power tools were part of £21,694 worth of goods taken from ISO containers during transit from Afghanistan to Rock Barracks, Woodbridge, in July 2007.

MoD issued tools and equipment were also taken from the site in a £4,439.15 raid in August 2009. Body armour, ration packs, fuel cans, binoculars, compasses, TVs and even a fridge have also been seized.

An MoD spokesman said: “The MoD takes the loss or theft of equipment very seriously and works hard to detect and deter theft.

“There are robust processes in place to raise awareness of the need for vigilance in all aspects of security and we actively encourage individuals to report loss or theft.

“This work has resulted in a rise in the number of reports over the last year. Where theft does occur and a suspect is identified, prosecution or internal disciplinary action will follow as appropriate.”

The spokesman added staff training and awareness regarding information security are regularly reviewed in order to ensure the best possible understanding of the threats and required countermeasures.

A significant number of the incidents involve information that had been encrypted to Government standards and, while the data was lost, the probability of compromise of encrypted information is deemed to be minimal, he said.

The MoD had no evidence that any of the data on any of the missing items was actually viewed or used by unauthorised individuals.

The military environment and supply chain represented a population of hundreds of thousands of people and a certain amount of theft was unavoidable, he added.

The estimated value of thefts from the MoD as whole for 2010/11 was in the region of 0.0015% of total MoD assets.

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