Lincolnshire

Number of security breaches at Lincolnshire RAF bases rises in last six months

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Security at RAF bases in Lincolnshire has been breached more times in the last seven months than in the last three years combined, new figures have been revealed.

A Freedom of Information request by Lincolnshire Reporter to the Ministry of Defence has shown that breaches have occurred at military bases in the county which play a pivotal role in UK foreign and defence policy.

Seven breaches have taken place since the middle of March, compared with one in the whole of 2015, four in 2014 and one in 2013.

Four of the security breaches this year have involved some sort of unauthorised access to one of the RAF bases in the county.

The most recent breach happened on August 12 at RAF Cranwell, where civilian students were caught tailgating, with the Royal Air Force Police called to assist the base in their response.

An unintentional trespass was also recorded at the base on May 5.

Three incidents occurred at RAF Scampton, home of the Red Arrows and the stage for an airshow in 2017, with two worryingly involving some sort of unauthorised access.

An unidentified person was reported on the base in the evening of July 18 and a hole was cut in the fence on the morning of April 29.

Damage to the fence line was also caused on June 3.

Other breaches were investigated at RAF Woodhall Spa – satellite of RAF Coningsby, one of the UK’s Typhoon bases – and RAF Waddington, where the country’s only armed drones are controlled from.

Penny Walker, Katharina Karcher, Gary Eagling and Christopher Cole outside Lincoln Magistrates' Court on October 19. Photo: The Lincolnite

Penny Walker, Katharina Karcher, Gary Eagling and Christopher Cole outside Lincoln Magistrates’ Court on October 19. Photo: The Lincolnite

By contrast, just one security breach was recorded by the RAF in Lincolnshire in 2015.

However, the incident at RAF Waddington on January 5 made national headlines, as a group of four campaigners cut a hole in the fence to protest against the use of drones at the base.

The protesters, who belong to the End The Drone Wars group, used bolt cutters to break through a fence onto the base, armed with banners and leaflets condemning the use of drones.

All four were given conditional discharges at Lincoln Magistrates’ Court nine months later.

A previous protest at the base had taken place in 2013.

The MOD has previously said that it treats information security as “a top priority”, and that all incidents have to be thoroughly investigated, however trivial or minor they appear to be.