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Norfolk police raid home in Yorkshire as part of UEA Climategate inquiry

PUBLISHED: 07:44 16 December 2011

Picture shows: Aerial view of the University of East Anglia. Picture by: Mike Page

Picture shows: Aerial view of the University of East Anglia. Picture by: Mike Page

Police have raided a home in West Yorkshire as part of their probe into the theft of thousands of private emails from the University of East Anglia (UEA), it has emerged.

Officers from Norfolk Police and the Metropolitan Police searched the property and seized laptop computers and a mobile router.

The inquiry started after emails from the university’s Climate Research Unit (CRU) were hacked in 2009.

They were published on the internet, sparking a climate change row dubbed Climategate.

The US Environment Protection Agency (EPA) studied every email that had been hacked at the Climate Research Unit, based in Norwich.

Sceptics claimed the emails undermined the integrity of the CRU, which was later cleared of any wrongdoing after an independent inquiry.

At the end of November of this year, thousands of emails from the UEA appeared on a Russian computer server. This is also being investigated as part of the police inquiry.

No-one was arrested in the raid, which took place on Wednesday, said Norfolk Police.

The equipment seized belonged to a web content editor based at the University of Leeds.

On Wednesday, detectives from Norfolk Constabulary entered the home of Roger Tattersall, who writes a climate sceptic blog under the pseudonym TallBloke, and took away two laptops and a broadband router.

A police spokeswoman confirmed yesterday that Norfolk Constabulary had “executed a search warrant in West Yorkshire and seized computers”.

She added: “No one was arrested. Investigations into the [UEA] data breach and publication [online of emails] continues. This is one line of enquiry in a Norfolk constabulary investigation which started in 2009.”

Tattersall posted his own account of the police search on his blog: “An Englishman’s home is his castle they say. Not when six detectives from the Metropolitan police, the Norfolk constabulary and the computer crime division arrive on your doorstep with a warrant to search it though … They ended up settling for two laptops and an ADSL broadband router … I got the feeling something was on the go last night when WordPress [the internet host for his blog] forwarded a notice from the US Department of Justice.”

A spokesman for the UEA said: “We are pleased to hear that the police are continuing to actively pursue the case following the release last month of a second tranche of hacked emails from the Climatic Research Unit.

“We hope this will result in the arrest of those responsible for the theft of the emails and for distorting the debate on the globally important issue of climate change.”

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