Navy officer is reprimanded over secrets stolen from car

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The Independent Online

Top secret naval documents codenamed Operation Purple Wizard were stolen when a senior naval officer left his laptop computer in the back of his car.

Top secret naval documents codenamed Operation Purple Wizard were stolen when a senior naval officer left his laptop computer in the back of his car.

Commander Paul Lloyd, an officer with a previously exemplary record, was severely reprimanded for the error of judgement at a court martial in Portsmouth yesterday.

The hearing was told that military chiefs had been "staggered" to learn that the 39-year-old officer had left the laptop and documents in the car, breaching security rules.

On 26 June last year, a thief had stolen the computer, hard drive, four floppy disks and confidential documents after breaking into the vehicle while it was parked outside Cdr Lloyd's flat in Hatch End, north-west London. The documents and disks were found dumped on Stanmore Common near by, but the laptop and hard-drive were never found.

Cdr Lloyd, from Exminster, Devon, admitted failing to tell a security officer where he was taking the laptop,keeping secret documents on the wrong colour-coded disk, and leaving the equipment overnight in an unsupervised car.

The court heard that Cdr Lloyd is in charge of contingency planning for the joint forces of the Army, Navy and RAF. He was planning an exercise for HMS Illustrious - codenamed Operation Purple Wizard - when the laptop was stolen.

Brigadier David Richards, the Chief of Joint Forces Operations at Joint Forces Headquarters, described him as "a really golden officer" who had "been at the very heart of every operation that the UK has been involved in".

Reprimanding Cdr Lloyd, Commodore Robert Bradshaw said the court martial had considered his excellent service record, obvious remorse and early guilty plea but said he had failed to observe security rules.

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