In the last half-decade, a number of items have been stolen from British atomic-powered submarines, as well as from air force installations and army bases in Scotland, the Herald Scotland reported on Thursday. The newspaper cited documents obtained through open-record laws.
It was not clear how many of the total 105 reported burglaries of military sites in Scotland in the last five years involved thefts from nuclear submarines. It was also not clear how many of those thefts were committed by uniformed military personnel or by civilian outsiders. If unauthorized individuals have been able to successfully gain access to British submarines, that could have implications for the security of their shipboard atomic reactors.
In late March this year, a pulse oximeter, which is utilized to track blood oxygen saturation, was stolen from the new atomic-powered submarine HMS Ambush. A different nuclear submarine, the HMS Churchill, which is presently waiting to be scrapped at the Rosyth naval dockyard, had 56 heavy PVC-covered lead blocks stolen.
Missing items from bases included weapons and ammunition, as well as a laundry list -- literally -- of other items, according to the newspaper. A clothes washer and dryer were taken from Fort George army barracks in 2009; 55 pounds of bacon, 33 pounds of shrimp and 12 sacks of sausages were snuck out of a marine base in Arbroath the same year; and a shed door went missing from Inverness in 2011.
In response to questions about the many reported thefts, a Defense Ministry spokeswoman said: "The MOD works hard to detect and deter theft and there are robust processes in place to raise awareness of the need for vigilance in all aspects of security. Just as theft occurs in wider society, the MOD is not immune and we actively encourage individuals to report any evidence of loss or suspicion or theft."