HC Deb 01 July 1957 vol 572 cc687-8
43. Mr. Janner

asked the Minister of Supply whether he will make a statement about the penetration of a group of boy soldiers into Farnborough airfield on two occasions; how these boys were able to take equipment from the premises without being challenged in any way; and what steps are being taken as a result to increase the security arrangements at the airfield and at other buildings of importance.

The Minister of Supply (Mr. Aubrey Jones)

The boys burrowed under the perimeter fence at isolated parts of the Royal Aircraft Establishment at Farnborough on two occasions, once during the evening of 25th May and again in the early morning of 26th May, and escaped detection. They did not penetrate any area containing secret equipment. They took some equipment of comparatively small value, most of which has since been recovered.

This was admittedly an unfortunate experience, and while I am generally satisfied with the arrangements for protecting information and equipment, the appropriate lessons are being drawn.

Mr. Janner

While thanking the Minister for his reply, may I ask whether he is not aware that material worth about £1,040 was stolen—not stolen, but taken away? [Laughter.] I think the Minister will agree that the result of the case showed that it was a prank on the part of youngsters. Nevertheless, is he not aware that it was a serious thing to leave the place unprotected in that way? Will he take steps to see that this kind of thing does not happen?

Mr. Jones

I do not want to depreciate the significance of this, but the figure quoted by the hon. Member relates to the original cost of the equipment rather than to its present value. For the rest, I trust that the hon. Member is not asking me to advertise to the burglar exactly where I am proposing to place the bolts