Police investigate who dumped laptop in the bin

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The Independent Online

A police investigation into why a laptop and paperwork were dumped in a bin near the riverside home of Rebekah Brooks gathered pace yesterday.

A bin-liner carrying two briefcases containing the items was found on Monday afternoon among rubbish in an underground car park beneath west London's Chelsea Harbour, where Ms Brooks shares an apartment with husband Charlie.

It is understood the bag was discovered by binmen at around 3pm on Monday, and that later Mr Brooks tried to claim it back but a security guard refused when the author and former racehorse trainer could not prove it was his.

A spokesman for the couple said the incident was "unfortunate timing", as it came 24 hours after Ms Brooks, the former News International chief executive, was arrested under suspicion of conspiring to intercept communications, and of corrupting police officers.

Chelsea Harbour Ltd, which runs the housing complex, is understood to have handed CCTV to detectives who were last night trawling through footage to discover who dropped the bag. A source at the harbour said: "The whole place is covered by CCTV cameras and it would be impossible to go anywhere without being picked up somewhere on the site."

Yesterday morning an unmarked police car was seen entering the gated complex before a blue tarpaulin sheet was erected around the bins at the goods entrance to the site.

But Mr Brooks' spokesman, David Wilson, said his client denied it belonged to his wife, saying that a close friend had accidentally left the objects in the car park when he was supposed to be dropping them off.

"A friend of Charlie's brought the bags back to him and parked his car in the middle of the underground car park but forgot the bag when he was locking his car," he said.

"All the police need to do is look into the property and they will realise there is nothing there. It was two briefcases in a black bin liner.

"It's just a laptop and some notes. He is a writer, so clearly it is writing notes." He added: "There was nothing in this. The timing was just unfortunate."

A Metropolitan Police spokesman said yesterday: "Property was found at a car park in SW10. Inquiries are now under way."