The Telegraph 2024-03-04 16:30:33


Formula One driver Gerhard Berger’s stolen Ferrari found in London after 28 years

The last time former Formula One driver Gerhard Berger saw his Ferrari F512M Testarossa was in 1995 as he chased it down in a Volkswagen Golf in the hope of catching its thief.

Now it has reemerged, with polished alloys and perfect red body work, in the same prime condition it was when it was stolen almost 29 years ago.

The luxury motor  was stolen in an audacious robbery at the San Marino Grand Prix in Imola, Italy, in April 1995, alongside a silver-grey Ferrari F355 belonging to fellow F1 driver Jean Alesi.

While Alesi did not witness anyone making off with his car when it was parked at their luxury hotel, Berger, a 10-time Grand Prix winner, did spot his Ferrari being stolen and attempted to stop the robbery. Seeing his car leaving its parking space, the Austrian ran into its path, but after realising the robber had no intention of stopping, had to jump out of the way.

It was driven off at high-speed down a narrow road before Berger got behind the wheel of a friend’s Volkswagen Golf in pursuit. Despite being in good form that weekend, finishing third on the Grand Prix podium, he was unable to catch up with the thief on the old, cobbled streets of Imola.

Only 501 of the Ferrari models were made and the supercar was believed to be stolen to order, with Italian police originally thinking it was destined for the Middle East.

It was not seen again until January this year, when the Metropolitan Police received a report from Ferrari after the manufacturer had carried out checks on a car being sold to an American buyer through a British broker last year.

Officers from the Organised Vehicle Crime Unit discovered it had been shipped to Japan shortly after being stolen and was then brought to the UK in late 2023.

The car was tracked down and seized by the Met to prevent it from being exported from the UK, however Alesi’s stolen Ferrari remains missing and no arrests have been made.

Pc Mike Pilbeam, who led the investigation, said: “We managed to track it down in just four days. Our enquiries were painstaking and included contacting authorities from around the world.

“We worked quickly with partners including the National Crime Agency, as well as Ferrari and international car dealerships. This collaboration was instrumental in understanding the vehicle’s background and stopping it from leaving the country.”

Berger raced for Ferrari for 14 seasons winning ten Grand Prix, coming in the top three in 48 races and twice finishing third overall in the 1980s and 90s. He also drove for Benetton and McLaren during his career.

In 2023, the Met’s Organised Vehicle Crime Unit recovered 418 vehicles with a combined value of £31 million. Of these, 326 have been linked to organised criminal gangs, making up £21 million of the total value of vehicles seized.

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Katie Boulter lands biggest career win to date – then embarrasses boyfriend Alex de Minaur

Katie Boulter has broken into the world’s top 30 after scoring the biggest triumph by a British woman since Emma Raducanu won the US Open…

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Women even more at risk since Sarah Everard’s murder, says Couzens prosecutor

Violence against women and girls is getting worse, the prosecutor in the Wayne Couzens trial has said…

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RNLI bosses pushed veteran volunteers to leave after viewing them as ‘disposable’, say lifeboat crew

RNLI bosses have snubbed veteran volunteers and pushed them to leave, lifeboat crew have claimed.

Long-serving crew members at the charity told The Telegraph of bitter internal strife in some lifeboat stations and requests to management going ignored.

One told of mass resignations of volunteers in protest at bosses viewing them as “disposable”, while another claimed he was sacked in a row after an all-weather was replaced with an inshore inflatable vessel.

Controversy has hit charity

It comes as the RNLI celebrates its 200th anniversary, having saved more than 144,000 lives since 1824 and still serving as the primary rescue service for Britain and Ireland’s coastline.

In a picture to celebrate the anniversary on Monday, the RNLI released a bird’s-eye-view image of a £2.5 million Shannon-class lifeboat being launched – which is one of the vessels at the heart of the row.

Covering 238 lifeboat stations and many beaches, its current income of £230 million continues to grow along with donations and legacies, but controversy has hit the acclaimed charity at some stations.

Alex Smith, 69, said he was dismissed as the operations manager of Arbroath Lifeboat Station in Angus, eastern Scotland, in June last year after opposing the replacement of its all-weather Mersey-class lifeboat with an Atlantic 85 rigid-hulled inflatable boat.

He claimed that he and other crew members were concerned that the Atlantic 85 had a six-mile radius range at sea and had been promised that a Shannon class would be given to them instead, a new hi-tech all-weather boat with a range of 250 nautical miles.

“All I cared about was the safety of the crew,” the semi-retired charter skipper said. “Management just did not pay attention and they did not listen to us.

‘A fatality on your hands’

“I’ve been sailing here all my life, I know that boat will not be able to handle bad conditions. Our superiors say the neighbouring stations at Montrose and Broughty Ferry will be able to step in if it’s too rough but it will take 30 minutes for them to get here.

“That’s long enough to have a fatality on your hands.”

Mr Smith, who joined the RNLI in 2001 and served as an onshore launcher until 2009 when he became operations manager, said he was eventually dismissed when a private WhatsApp conversation in which he described his managers as “lying b——-” was leaked to the charity. He had also been censured for speaking to the local newspaper about the boat swap without permission.

Another crew member to raise concerns about management at the charity is Heidi Bakewell, 44, who quit the Pwllheli station in north Wales last month after she concluded that “volunteers are disposable”.

‘Division and disharmony’

She was one of 12 crew members with a combined 170 years of experience who resigned after a row with a colleague who spoke only in Welsh on a rescue, which not everyone could understand.

The station was shuttered last August as the RNLI investigated the row, which it has said was causing so much “division and disharmony” that rescue operations were “unsafe”.

Ms Bakewell, a pub landlady at Y Llong in nearby Edern, said the volunteers were ready to start over on a “clean slate” last month until managers told them they would have to reapply for their roles, at which point 12 handed in their resignations.

‘Management have got no idea’

“It is absolutely devastating,” she told The Telegraph. “I was absolutely gobsmacked that at a charity that has been brought up on volunteers, that the management just don’t seem to be trained to deal with any disharmony. They’ve just got no idea.”

The claims came as former personnel at other RNLI stations told MailOnline they claimed to have witnessed “bullying”.

This included Walton-on-the-Naze, Essex, where Stewart Oxley, 55, a volunteer of 37 years, claims he was stood down by management after opposing the replacement of the station’s £2 million all-weather lifeboat that could carry 120 people with a three-man D-class dinghy, as bosses said the pier it launched from was unsafe.

An RNLI spokesman said of the Arbroath row that “no change would be made that compromised safety” and a four-month consultation led to the boat swap, though one Atlantic 85, three Shannon-class and four D-class lifeboats covering 33 nautical miles from Anstruther to Montrose “will provide the very best life-saving response”.

Agreed to move forward

“We do not stand volunteers down for simply disagreeing or making appropriate challenges to decision making,” the charity added.

The spokesman said of the Pwllheli row that after a “breakdown in relationships between people at the station”, two thirds of the crew and 13 new volunteers have agreed to move forward and an “intensive two-week training period is now under way” to get the lifeboat back in service.

In response to the additional claims on MailOnline, the RNLI accused the publication of having “deliberately tried to diminish our 200th anniversary” and “chosen to rehash some mainly historic stories to create a false impression of our charity – one that most of our people just do not recognise”.

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Sky News presenter accused of ‘taking sides’ after claiming Israel is committing war crimes

A Sky News correspondent has been accused of taking “a side” in the war between Israel and Hamas after claiming the former had committed “war crimes”.

Alex Crawford, the channel’s special correspondent, also had a “community note” – a tool used to fact-check posts – attached to one of her tweets.

On Sunday, a former BBC executive said the correspondent appeared “uninterested in the principles of impartiality, balance and accuracy”.

Sky News’s social media guidelines state that as a journalist for the broadcaster, “you are expected to use social media responsibly, adhering to the principles of fairness, accuracy, impartiality, legality and rigour”.

Text in Sky’s editorial guidelines continues: “You are personally responsible for the content you publish on social networks.”

Ms Crawford is one of more than 50 broadcast journalists who has signed a petition demanding the Israeli and Egyptian embassies provide “free and unfettered access” to Gaza.

In December Ms Crawford, 61, claimed that journalists were being kept out of Gaza to cover-up Israeli criminality.

Writing on Twitter, now known as X, Ms Crawford, who was awarded an OBE by the late Queen, said: “It is absolutely farcical to try to peddle the view that foreign journalists are not entering Gaza because it’s ‘dangerous’.

“International journalists have been delib [deliberately] blocked from entering Gaza by primarily Israel who doesn’t want them seeing the war crimes.”

South Africa has launched a case at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) against Israel for what it said were “genocidal” acts in Gaza.

And on Thursday Volker Turk, the UN human rights chief, said war crimes had been committed by all parties in the conflict.

However, the ICJ is yet to rule on whether Israel has committed any war crimes and the judicial process could take years.

In another tweet published in November last year, when 23 Palestinian prisoners were released in exchange for eight Israeli hostages, Ms Crawford also appeared to incorrectly report the crime of at least one prisoner.

She wrote:

A community note was later added to the tweet which read: “The list of the Palestinian prisoners includes their offences. None of the prisoners are kept for raising a Palestinian flag.”

The sources cited on the community note were Israeli news sites The Jerusalem Post and Haaretz.

‘Uninterested in principles of impartiality’

Danny Cohen, a former director of television at the BBC, told The Telegraph: “Alex Crawford appears uninterested in the principles of impartiality, balance and accuracy that underpin broadcast journalism in the UK. She has clearly taken a side in the Israel-Hamas war, accusing Israel of war crimes without presenting any evidence and making up claims about Palestinian prisoners.”

Mr Cohen added: “At a time of exponentially rising anti-Semitism, Sky News must act to ensure their journalists are reporting the war without bias and purely on the basis of facts.”

Adam Levick, co-editor of the UK arm of the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting and Analysis, said: “Our review of Ms Crawford’s X posts reveals a journalist with an egregious bias against Israel.

“On Dec 5, for instance, she complained in a post about not being able to travel to Gaza, before concluding that the reason is that Israel doesn’t want the world to see its ‘war crimes’.

“Her conclusion, that Israel was guilty of ‘war crimes’, was clearly pre-determined.”

Ms Crawford and Sky News were approached for comment.

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BBC to give first live interview with a black spy as MI6 ups recruitment drive

An MI6 intelligence officer will make history on Sunday night by becoming the first black spy to give a live broadcast interview.

The officer, who is at director level, is being interviewed on Radio 1Xtra as part of a diversity recruitment drive by the Secret Intelligence Service, also known as MI6.

A colleague, who is from an Asian background, will give a second interview on BBC’s Radio 5 Live on Monday in a concerted campaign to boost the organisation’s ethnic diversity.

The director, who will give his name only as Kwame, is expected to make a direct appeal for more people from ethnic minorities to apply to join MI6.

Just under nine per cent of MI6 staff are from an ethnic minority background, compared with 15 per cent across Whitehall departments.

There is concern in the security services that spies need to be from more diverse backgrounds in the fight against terrorism, both in the UK and abroad.

MI6 has long been viewed, fairly or otherwise, as the domain of white, middle-class agents. James Bond, Ian Fleming’s fictional creation, remains the character most intrinsically linked to MI6.

MI6, like MI5, guards the identity of its officers. Only the head of MI6 – currently Sir Richard Moore – has his name put into the public domain. Security surrounding the Radio 1 interview will be tight. Director Kwame will almost certainly be interviewed from inside MI6 and is unlikely to make the trip to the BBC studios, for security reasons.

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