[ISN] Sitting Ducks at Sandhurst
isn at c4i.org
Tue Jun 27 01:27:59 EDT 2006
By Daniel Jones
25 June 2006
DISGRACEFUL security lapses at Prince William's military academy are
today exposed by The People.
Carrying a lifelike fakebomb, one of our reporters casually strolled
into Wills's accommodation block - and put his feet up in the
24-year-old prince's common room.
For four shocking hours, he was allowed to roam the grounds and
buildings of world-famous Sandhurst without EVER being challenged.
A real terrorist would have had countless chances to plant a bomb that
could have killed and maimed scores of people - including the man who
will one day be King.
The scandal is revealed less than two weeks before the anniversary of
the 7/7 London bombings - and amid fears that Al- Qaida is planning
plan a new wave of attacks in Britain.
We linked up with former counterterrorism intelligence officer Charles
Shoebridge to infiltrate Sandhurst - which William's brother Harry has
just left - for an open day that attracted more than 3,000 visitors.
In a string of appalling security blunders, our investigators: -
OPENLY sat in the grounds putting together the fake bomb'
STROLLED into William's New College quarters - where a cadet opened a
door for them to get in'
CHECKED out the VIP podium and a postbox where lethal explosives could
easily have been hidden' and
TOOK photos in areas which were supposed to be closed off as part of a
£2million operation designed to protect William - a prime target -
from international terrorists.
Mr Shoebridge said: "Sandhurst's worldwide reputation makes it an
ideal terrorist target - especially with Prince William there. Yet you
would not think this from the security we saw.
"If they had wanted to, then terrorists could have caused havoc."
The disgraceful lapses began the moment our team arrived at the
Berkshire military academy's Heritage Day.
Astonishingly, visitors did not have to book their places - which
meant they could not be vetted in advance.
And guards did not even take their names as they entered, Armed
soldiers and police at the main gate searched the bags of people
arriving on foot.
But like scores of other people, our investigators drove to Sandhurst
- and were waved through to a car park.
Once there, cadets made only a cursory search of the boot.
But they did NOT look inside the car.
And they did NOT carry out the widely used swab check - which reveals
whether a person has been handling explosives.
Mr Shoebridge - himself a Sandhurst graduate - said: "Of the ten cars
I watched being checked, no searches at all were made of their
occupants or their bags or rucksacks, which could have been packed
Our reporter made no attempt at secrecy as he made his "bomb" based on
a design used by Al-Qaida - a mobile phone acting as a timer wired to
a blob of Semtex.
We used lookalike Plasticine instead of the deadly high explosive.
Our reporter put the device into a plastic lunch-box which he carried
in a shoulder-bag - along with a dossier about Sandhurst and a map of
Amazingly, a passing soldier revealed where the Prince is staying
while he is at Sandhurst. Mr Shoebridge - who worked in the police and
army for 20 years - pointed out a working postbox made of cast iron
next to the parade square at William's college.
He said: "Just a small bomb hidden in there would shower deadly
shrapnel over any cadets parading here the following morning. The
postbox should have been sealed for the Heritage Day."
New College, like most of Sandhurst's buildings, was officially closed
to the public for the event.
But it was a doddle for our investigators to get inside.
Two ground-floor windows at the rear were UNLOCKED.
But our team did not have to climb in because a cadet showing his
family round helpfully held open a door for them.
They were able to wander around the building - and even sat in the
common room near William's personal quarters. A terrorist could simply
have planted a bomb under a chair and detonated it at his leisure.
Mr Shoebridge said: "Most of the ground-floor windows were locked on a
hot summer's day - which suggests staff were aware that someone might
attempt unauthorised access.
"Yet cadets did not seem to have been briefed about the need to
identify and accompany strangers before allowing them in through the
Our investigators then checked out a podium used by VIPs for the
finale of the open day - a march-past with a Gurkha band in front of
the Mayor of Sandhurst Elizabeth North.
There was NO guard here in the runup to the parade. Mr Shoebridge
said: "Had we used a timing device, we would have now escaped and the
bomb would kill the VIPs, the bandmaster and several members of the
"If we were to trigger the bomb remotely as the band passed close to
the podium, we would have killed several Gurkhas from the band too."
There were also any number of chances to secrete bombs - timed to
explode later - under unattended Army trucks and Land Rovers at the
William joined the tough military academy in January for a 44-week
officer cadet course. Harry, 21, graduated from the college in April,
a ceremony attended by the Queen and the rest of the Royal Family. But
Sandhurst was considered a terrorist target even before then.
During Muslim cleric Abu Hamza's trial in January, it was revealed he
had detailed plans of Sandhurst which he said would be "crucial to any
terrorist". The 47-year-old extremist was jailed for seven years for
incitement to murder.
MI5 and the police warn that new Al-Qaida outrages in Britain could
come within months.
Experts say they have foiled at least three attacks since the 7/7
Aspokesman for the Ministry of Defence said last night: "We do not
discuss security matters. We are, however, satisfied that a real bomb
would have been quickly identified and appropriate steps taken."
- DO YOU know of a sandal? Call our newsdesk on 020 7293 3204.
- Voice of The People: Page 6 daniel.jones at people.co.uk
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