'Sensitive defence papers' found at bus stop

27 June 2021, 09:17 | Updated: 27 June 2021, 09:41

By Asher McShane

Top secret military documents containing details about HMS Defender and other UK defence operations have been found by a member of the public at a bus stop.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) said the employee concerned with the loss of documents reported it last week, and the department has launched an investigation.

A member of the public said they found 50 pages of classified information in a soggy heap behind a bus stop in Kent early on Tuesday morning.

The papers included one set of documents which discussed the potential Russian reaction to HMS Defender's travel through Ukrainian waters off the Crimea coast on Wednesday.

The MoD said that HMS Defender "conducted innocent passage through Ukrainian territorial waters in accordance with international law" and that "all potential factors" are considered when making "operational decisions".

A spokesperson said: "As the public would expect, the Ministry of Defence plans carefully.

"As a matter of routine, that includes analysing all the potential factors affecting operational decisions.

"HMS Defender conducted innocent passage through Ukrainian territorial waters in accordance with international law."

They added: "The Ministry of Defence was informed last week of an incident in which sensitive defence papers were recovered by a member of the public.

"The department takes the security of information extremely seriously and an investigation has been launched.

"The employee concerned reported the loss at the time. It would be inappropriate to comment further."