Attempt to secure memo's return infuriated arts promoter

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The Independent Online
David Scholefield, a successful arts promoter, was sitting in his central London flat on Wednesday evening when his fax machine started churning out a memo to Jonathan Aitken, writes Nick Cohen.

The 48-year-old New Zealander did something of a double take. "I'd been talking about Aitken with my friends earlier in the day," he said. But his surprise became tinged with a slight paranoia when Patrick Robertson tried to make contact and get the document back.

The first attempt was innocuous. On Thursday, a faxed message arrived from a member of staff at Mr Robertson's Taskforce Communications Ltd. "To whom it may concern," it read. "Last evening at 8.20 a fax was incorrectly sent to your fax number. I should be grateful if you would call at the earliest opportunity to arrange for the return of this confidential message."

Shortly afterwards his phone rang and the following message was recorded. "Hello," said the voice, "if this is the answering machine of a Mr Scholefield, I wonder if you would be kind enough to call Patrick Robertson on...I just want to collect a fax which was erroneously sent to you yesterday evening. Many thanks."

The message infuriated Mr Scholefield. "I have three lines coming into my flat," he said. "They are completely separate. There's no way an ordinary member of the public can find my name and ex-directory number from my fax number."

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