The police have been called in, and a full investigation has been launched this morning, to discover how the personal details of the entire BBC Olympic staff have gone missing from a private office within Television Centre. Details of hotel bookings, addresses, photographs and the passport information of the 437-strong workforce attending the Beijing games, including those of Surrey tennis Queen and Cliff Richard stooge, Sue Barker, were first reported missing from their West London home two weeks ago.
Having failed to shed light on their disappearance, or recover the files, the Beeb have asked for the help of the rozzers, responding to increasing alarm over the reason for the thievery. Roger Mosey, director of BBC Sport, skirted speculation in a statement, but suggested there could be a sinister purpose behind the files vanishing:
We are still in a position where they could have genuinely gone missing, but increasingly our suspicions are that it was deliberate or malicious in some way
Whilst fraud is not suspected because no financial details were present in the files, the attention of the police, the launch of a full investigation, the initiation of a helpline to ease staff concerns, and the apparently stealthy nature of the job, have exacerbated anxiety over the motive for the pilfery.
Whether the work of a co-ordinated global terrorist movement with an axe to grind against the light-hearted sports quiz and Wimbledon host, or someone at the Beeb has just dropped the ball big-time, the breach of internal security is bound to leave the corporation further red-faced given recent misdeeds, as the news has highlighted the record number of workers being sent to the Games. In an attempt to get the first punch in, the BBC defended this use of resources, claiming the staff – 33 more than the number who attended the Athens Olympics – will provide more than twice as much output as four years ago.
By Noel Titheradge
Image courtesy of eyedropper.co.uk's Flickrstream.