07 February 2006

Stevens break-in

Belfast Telegraph

Everyone put your 'gullible' mask on now

Tyneside police reveal incidents

By Chris Thornton
07 February 2006

Tyneside police said today that two break-ins at offices used by Lord Stevens do not appear to be related to his long-running investigations into Northern Ireland collusion.

While the break-ins recalled a controversial fire at Lord Steven's Carrickfergus office in 1990, the police statement suggested there would be no effect on the senior policeman's final report into the murder of solicitor Pat Finucane.

Reports of the break-ins - which occurred within ten days of each other - emerged as the Finucane family were preparing to meet Secretary of State Peter Hain today.

Mr Finucane's family has also arranged a ground-breaking meeting with DUP leader Ian Paisley next week, to explain the family's opposition to the Government's terms for holding an inquiry into the murder.

Northumbria Police said there was no indication that the break-ins over successive weekends were connected to Lord Stevens' work in Northern Ireland or his investigation into the death of Princess Diana.

Large sections of his Northern Ireland work have been handed over to the PSNI, but some strands are said to be continuing. Also Lord Steven's interim report on the Finucane case, submitted two years ago, has not been followed by a final report.

A police statement said two laptops and cash were stolen from the offices in Gosforth, Tyneside during the first break-in at the end of January.

Nothing was stolen during the second break-in last weekend, police said.

A spokeswoman for the Metropolitan Police, where Lord Stevens runs the Diana and Finucane investigations, said no sensitive material was stolen.

Lord Stevens office in Northern Ireland was famously burned in January 1990, the night before he was due to arrest Army spy Brian Nelson for questioning about collusion between the UDA and the security forces.

Lord Stevens has a home in Northumbria, where he was chief constable before becoming Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police.

A Northumbria Police spokesman said: "Detectives in Newcastle are investigating two break-ins at the Dobson House office block in Gosforth.

"The first one happened over the weekend of January 28/29 and two laptop computers and a quantity of cash were stolen. In the second break-in this weekend, nothing was stolen.

"There is nothing to suggest that this burglary is in any way linked with his work as the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police or any investigations that he has been involved in either now or in the past.

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