‘A massive police operation is under way after sensitive video interviews with victims of celebrity sex abusers were stolen.
The tapes, believed to feature accusers of Jimmy Savile, Stuart Hall and other high-profile names , were snatched in a raid on a rundown property used by a company working for the Crown Prosecution Service.
Up to 50 testimonies were taken from the flat owned by a film-making firm contracted to the CPS.
It is thought a highly-organised criminal gang was behind the raid. Four police forces are involved in the investigation with officers travelling to Poland on the trail of the crooks.
Officers feared the tapes would be used for blackmail, or that they would be placed on the internet and even wreck future criminal trials .
One highly-placed source said: “There were serious concerns about the implications of this robbery.
“Officers were terrified future trials could collapse due to the evidence being compromised and there were also concerns that the videos could be uploaded on to social media or even be used as part of a future blackmail plot.”
There was also concern the burglary in the Fallowfield area of Manchester raised serious questions about security around sensitive police victim and witness tapes.
David Sinclair, a spokesman for Victim Support Scotland, said: “Victims of crime, particularly sexual crimes, would rightly expect that any video relating to those people and their identities would be held securely and not handed over to any third party without the prior agreement of the victims, and in the case of younger victims, the authority of their parents.”
Six men have been arrested for burglary and handling stolen goods following the raid on video-editing company Swan Films 10 days ago. But the major police probe is ongoing.
A CPS spokesman said: “We are currently co-operating with the police investigation. During the burglary it is believed material relating to a small number of cases, including some police interviews with victims or witnesses, sent to the company since August 1, were stolen.
“Master copies of all material are retained by the prosecution. Computers have now been recovered and we can confirm the sensitive information they contained was not accessed between the time they were stolen and their recovery.
“The CPS has secured all material which remained at the burgled premises and is asking for an urgent explanation of the security measures in place.
“We have worked with the police to identify the victims and witnesses who have been involved in the cases affected and are informing them of the successful recovery of the material in question.”
A Greater Manchester Police spokeswoman said: “At 2.20pm on September 11 2014, police were called to reports of a burglary. Officers attended to find a number of items stolen. They have been recovered and enquiries are ongoing.” ‘
Report by The Mirror