Fake Sheikh buys his way into Buckingham Palace

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The Independent Online

The Fake Sheikh strikes again. Safety for the Queen and Royal Family is being urgently reviewed after a Buckingham Palace security breach engineered by Britain's most notorious undercover reporter.

Mazher Mahmood, the News of the World investigations editor best known for passing himself off as a bogus Arab princeling, claims to have been given an extensive tour of the car fleet inside the Palace by bribing a chauffeur.

Mr Mahmood claimed that he and a colleague, posing as curious Middle Eastern businessmen, gained extensive access to the royal limousines and the Queen's personal Rolls-Royce and Daimler, after being admitted unchallenged into the Royal Mews.

They were allowed to photograph and video the vehicles, including their number plates, were told their official code names and given details of security weaknesses, and even permitted to sit inside one of them unsupervised – with enough time to have planted a bomb, Mr Mahmood claimed.

The reporter alleged that his access was arranged by royal pool chauffeur Brian Sirjusingh, in exchange for £1,000. The Palace announced that Mr Sirjusingh had been suspended pending an investigation. Scotland Yard said it was "concerned" about the allegations and was talking with the Palace about security arrangements.

Even members of the royal family, including the Duke of Edinburgh and the Prince of Wales, are required to show photographic ID each time they enter a royal residence. However, there have been several major breaches over the years, the worst in March 1982 when the Queen awoke to find an intruder, Michael Fagan, sitting on the end of her bed. Other intruders got into the palace grounds in 1990 and 1992, while in 1994 James Miller, a naked American paraglider, landed on the roof; he was fined £200 and deported.

Ryan Parry, an undercover reporter from the Daily Mirror, got a job as a footman at the palace in 2003 and laid bare extensive details of royal domesticity, including the shocking detail that the Queen kept her breakfast muesli in a Tupperware container.