Hasan Suroor

Two undercover reporters enter the palace without security checks

LONDON: In an embarrassing security breach, two undercover tabloid reporters, posing as rich Arab businessmen, managed to enter the heavily-guarded Buckingham Palace without security checks and take a tour of highly-sensitive areas, including the royal garage where one of them even sat in the Queen’s Bentley car. The man, who helped them get into the Palace, was Brian Sirjusingh, a chauffeur, who allegedly took £1,000 for the favour. He has been suspended, and an investigation ordered into the incident.

The News of the World, which has done similar stings in the past, claimed that its reporters were waved past a police checkpoint and a sign seeking to see the visitors’ identification.

In a secretly-filmed footage, Mr. Sirjusingh is seen showing them the cars used by the royal family and allowing one of the journalists to sit in a Bentley the Queen uses on state occasions.

The Palace and the Scotland Yard said they were taking the breach “very seriously.” “We are naturally concerned about the issues raised by this story and are liaising with palace officials about their staff security arrangements,” a police spokesman said.

This is the latest in a series of such breaches. In 2003, a journalist from Daily Mirror spent several weeks, working undercover as a footman in Buckingham Palace, and the same year a comedian managed to walk into a royal party at Windsor Castle.

Robert Jobson, Royal Editor of The News of the World, said lessons should have been learnt from the previous security breaches.

“There have been a number of security breaches at the palace over the years, but this is right up there in terms of being a flagrant breach. They should have been checked as they walked in, but they weren’t, and therefore it could easily have been a terrorist walking into the palace and planting a bomb in the car rather than The News of the World exposing the poor security of the palace,” he told the BBC.