IMAGE: Security Documents Found Near Heathrow Airport
Scott Barbour  /  Getty Images
A man fills his car up with fuel at the gas station where key security documents were found outside London's Heathrow airport.
updated 7/19/2004 12:21:32 PM ET 2004-07-19T16:21:32

A police inquiry has been launched in response to a newspaper report claiming that a dossier containing anti-terror plans for Heathrow airport was found lying in a road, officials said Monday.

Home Secretary David Blunkett, Britain’s top law enforcement official, said he believed the documents were genuine.

“The plans were obviously very good,” he told British Broadcasting Corp. radio. “Somebody disposing of them in a way that allowed that to happen is very bad.”

London’s Metropolitan Police refused to give details of the nature of the documents, but said they had been recovered by officers.

“We treat any breach of security extremely seriously,” a spokesman said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

“We’ve launched an internal inquiry into the circumstances of how these documents went missing, and we will take the appropriate action when we have ascertained the facts surrounding this matter.”

The spokesman was responding to a report in The Sun daily claiming that a motorist found the documents in a road.

The newspaper said the plans, dated June 26, 2004, showed 62 sites at Heathrow where al-Qaida terrorists were most likely to launch anti-aircraft missile strikes. They included facts about escape routes, evacuation plans and road closures, according to The Sun.

British aviation security has been high since the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks. In February 2003, British troops and tanks were deployed at Heathrow Airport after police warned that al-Qaida might try attacking the British capital.

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