TV's Paxman sent stolen Enigma machine

Click to follow
The Independent Online

A rare World War Two Enigma coding machine has been sent in the post to Newsnight broadcaster Jeremy Paxman six months after being stolen.

A rare World War Two Enigma coding machine has been sent in the post to Newsnight broadcaster Jeremy Paxman six months after being stolen.

It went missing in April from a museum at Bletchley Park, near Milton Keynes, the British wartime intelligence centre.

Mr Paxman was said to be "flabbergasted" when the £100,000 device - one of only three in existence - was delivered to Newsnight's office.

A letter writer, claiming to be intermediary for a new owner who bought the machine in good faith, has been in protracted negotiations with Bletchley over its return.

It was feared a £25,000 ransom deal had foundered after the mystery man failed to contact police. Last month, he threatened to destroy it.

Mr Paxman said the parcel had been in the Newsnight office for several days.

He added: "As soon as I opened it, I realized what it was. I havenÿt a clue why they sent it to me."

BBC spokesman Mark Ogle said: "It was a total surprise. I don't know why it was sent to Jeremy.

"We've been talking to Bletchley Park and it seems to be authentic. It has the G312 serial mark that the stolen one has.

"When Jeremy opened it his reaction was one of total surprise. He had no idea why he had been sent it.

"The first thing he noticed was the strong smell of oil and wood from the box, but as soon as he opened the box, he realised it was an Enigma machine."

The package, which was sent by special delivery, had a Birmingham postmark.

The director of Bletchley Park is travelling to BBC Television Centre, in London, to authenticate the machine.

Comments