SBS, WOOPS!

#1
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2-1131119,00.html

Wrong turn lands Marines in the clink
From David Sharrock in Madrid



WAS it a top-secret British special forces operation which went wrong on the Costa del Sol, or just a case of a couple of matelots taking a wrong turn on the road to Gibraltar and ending up lost and in police custody? Two Royal Marines found themselves in a Spanish police station for four hours after being caught in possession of a cache of military equipment loaded in the back of a Gibraltar-registered van.
“Two British military officials on a secret mission,” said Spanish newspaper headlines, under which were printed the Royal Navy identity cards of Andrew Smith, aged 26, and Wayne Athey, 28.



If Messrs Smith and Athey are members of the elite Special Boat Service, as they reportedly told the police in Málaga, their cover is now well and truly blown. The Spanish are decidedly ticked off about the affair too.

The National Intelligence Centre — Spain’s equivalent of MI5 and MI6 — is investigating the incident, in which the two Marines reportedly claimed they were driving special equipment to Gibraltar for an exercise involving a nuclear submarine.

They were stopped by officers from Málaga city’s local police force last month as they drove a van along the seafront in the early hours in an area frequently used by drug smugglers to land drugs brought across by powerboats from Morocco.

The police patrol, judging by the way in which the van was being driven slowly and without its lights on, were suspicious, called for reinforcements and tailed the suspects.

When they finally detained the vehicle its two occupants produced their Royal Navy identity cards. In the back of the van police found two powerful outboard motors, an inflatable semi-rigid zodiac dinghy, diving equipment and padlocked boxes bearing Royal Navy emblems.

The men allegedly told the police that they were members of the British special forces on a secret mission to take military equipment to Gibraltar.

Bemused, the Spanish police took them into custody while they tried to verify their story.

After several hours one of the detained men finally rang his senior officer in England. The police then managed to speak with their Gibraltar counterparts, who passed them to the local MoD office.

According to the Spanish press reports, the police spoke with “Mr Coleman”, described as the military commander of the Royal Navy in the colony, who asked that the detained men confirm their identities by giving him a secret code.

Satisfied that they were indeed Marines, “Mr Coleman” confirmed to the police that they were bringing equipment from Britain to Gibraltar.

He added that it was vital that this equipment arrived at the base as soon as possible in order that a military exercise involving the nuclear submarine HMS Trenchant could be performed.

The conservative ABC newspaper said that the police did not believe what they were hearing and asked why it was that the equipment could not be sent directly by air or sea to Gibraltar.

The reply, according to the paper, was that it was because most military resources were tied up in Iraq.

With no offence having been committed, the Marines were allowed to go on their way. A British embassy official in Madrid yesterday said it was aware of the incident.

“The outline of what happened and has been reported is not in dispute,” the official said, referring any calls for more information to the MoD in London. An MoD spokesman finally gave a rather more prosaic version to The Times than the spy story woven in the Spanish press. He said that it was routine procedure for military equipment to be driven to the colony through Spain, after notification to the authorities and with Spanish consent.

On this occasion, the permissions had not been sought. “It was a contravention, an administrative error which we regret. We are discussing the situation with the Spanish.”

He denied that the military exercise for which the equipment in the van was destined had anything to do with HMS Trenchant.

The case is just one more chapter in the story of Spain’s unhappy relations with Britain over the Rock of Gibraltar. In 2002 a detachment of Royal Marines accidentally “invaded” Spain by landing on the wrong beach carrying mortars and assault rifles.
 
#4
or just a case of a couple of matelots taking a wrong turn
And a Times journo not knowing the difference between a Matelot and a Marine. As in:

'Are you a Matelot?'

SMACK!

'No, I'm a Marine.'
 
#6
cant have been that good if they were caught by the Spanish police!! :oops:
maybe someone should be saying to these booties that they should have paid more attention in covert smuggleing class.
 
#7
An MoD spokesman finally gave a rather more prosaic version to The Times than the spy story woven in the Spanish press. He said that it was routine procedure for military equipment to be driven to the colony through Spain, after notification to the authorities and with Spanish consent.
Consent for weapons, yes but if this is about RIBs and Outboards, not weapons per se, it's making a mountain and mischief out of two Booties being pulled for forgetting to put their van lights on, methinks. I joined my last ship overseas with S10 in tow. It is military equipment as are my uniforms. I don't think the MoD / FCO needed to seek permission from the host nation. Join the next one in the UK, not Spain, phew! :wink:

According to the Spanish press reports, the police spoke with “Mr Coleman”, described as the military commander of the Royal Navy in the colony, who asked that the detained men confirm their identities by giving him a secret code.
Coleman? A quick check of the Navy List fuels scepticism.

With no offence having been committed, the Marines were allowed to go on their way. A British embassy official in Madrid yesterday said it was aware of the incident.
So the big deal is?

PaddyRAC wrote

and having copies of their ID cards in the newspaper - terrorists take note....copy....photoshop.....print. Jobs a goon un.
Spanish feds to blame for that I suppose. You'd think they'd know better after Madrid, March 11, not to mention all the ETA sh1t over the years.

The Spanish police are only real muppets in this saga. And the Times journo.
 
#8
Seadog said:
The Spanish police are only real muppets in this saga. And the Times journo.
No, it's the two pillocks acting in a suspicious manner in a country which has just been hit with a terrorist spectacular.

msr
 
#10
msr wrote

No, it's the two pillocks acting in a suspicious manner in a country which has just been hit with a terrorist spectacular.
Almost tempted to say 'fair one', only:

From the Times

An MoD spokesman finally gave a rather more prosaic version to The Times than the spy story woven in the Spanish press.
So how suspicious were the Booties, really? Spanish imaginative mischief or a measured and appropriate response to two blokes (who should know better ) drawing attention to themselves by fitting the likely behaviour pattern of terrorists?

If it is the latter, Smith and Athey can join the muppet show and msr has a 'fair one'.
 
#12
The clincher:

...as they drove a van along the seafront in the early hours in an area frequently used by drug smugglers to land drugs brought across by powerboats from Morocco.

The police patrol, judging by the way in which the van was being driven slowly and without its lights on, were suspicious, called for reinforcements and tailed the suspects.

msr
 
#13
msr, I hear what you say :wink: but I'm selectively sceptical of a report from a UK journo in Madrid (not Malaga) mostly patched, translated and pasted from the newspapers of the paella eating surrender monkeys. The Spanish will do anything to discredit/embarass the UK in relation to Gib, and in particular, the Royal Marines, battle honour: Gibraltar.

But I have seen Booties do some bone things! :oops:
 
#14
It seems the Dons have still not forgiven us for Cadiz.

However, the Policia's recent fiasco involving footballers would indicate that they are somewhat given to being at home to Captain Cock-Up.
 

chimera

LE
Moderator
#16
Seem to recall the Royals getting slightly 'navigationally challenged' a couple of years ago and doing a beach landing on Spanish territory.

Obviously haven't got into GPS yet
 
#17
chimera said:
Seem to recall the Royals getting slightly 'navigationally challenged' a couple of years ago and doing a beach landing on Spanish territory.
and follow it up with loads of naval bombardments and DD tanks , up and at 'em! :D
 
E

error_unknown

Guest
#18
It reminds me of an incident a few years back when an elite team of hardened SBS killers intercepted a speedboat loaded with drugs at sea in the same area, only to find that it was crewed by... an elite team of SBS killers, mostly recently retired but one of whom was on leave and 'moonlighting'. Red faces all round.
 

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