Britain arrests man under Secrets Act

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LONDON, Nov 10 (Reuters) British police said today they had arrested a man under the Official Secrets Act, but declined to comment on a report he was accused of spying for Moscow.

The man, in his 20s, was arrested by officers from London's Metropolitan Police in the northern English city of Leeds. The London police force operates outside the capital in secrets cases under its counter-terrorism command, a spokeswoman said.

The man was arrested on Wednesday evening under the Official Secrets Act of 1911 and then further arrested under the Explosive Substances Act of 1883, police said in a statement.

''Following an application to court for an extension of custody the man remains in custody at a Yorkshire police station,'' they said. A residence and business property in Skipton, North Yorkshire, were being searched.

Police declined to comment on a report in the Yorkshire Post newspaper that the man, who has not been named, had been arrested in connection with an investigation into attempts to pass sensitive military information to the Russians.

Last week, head of MI5 security service Jonathan Evans had complained that Russian spying against Britain remained at Cold War levels, diverting intelligence resources that would be better devoted to fighting al Qaeda.

''Despite the Cold War ending nearly two decades ago, my service is still expending resources to defend the UK against unreconstructed attempts by Russia, China and others to spy on us,'' he said in his first public speech since taking over in April.

Evans said a number of countries were still actively seeking to steal sensitive civilian and military technology, political and economic intelligence, including via sophisticated electronic attacks on computer networks.

REUTERS SZ KP2006

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