London, July 29 : At least 3,000 British passports that were to be sent to the country's embassies abroad have been stolen.
A British Foreign Office spokeswoman said 24 parcels containing blank passports and vignettes (blank stickers for visa stamps), were removed from a van that was travelling from a factory in Oldham to the Royal Air Force Base in Northolt near London. According to the Daily Express, the Greater Manchester Police has been roped in to investigate this security breach. The Home Office and the Identity and Passport Service (IPS) have taken "preventative action" to guard against forgeries.
BBC Radio 5 Live said the passports involved were the new electronic type that contains a chip replicating the data printed on the document itself.