New trespass law includes Sandringham

CHRIS BISHOP The Queen's Norfolk estate is among a number of Government and royal properties which today became "protected sites" in a bid to crack down on trespassers.

CHRIS BISHOP

The Queen's Norfolk estate is among a number of Government and royal properties which today became "protected sites" in a bid to crack down on trespassers.

Police now have greater powers to deal with intruders in the 16 areas, including Downing Street. Currently, officers do not have the power to detain an individual who agrees to be escorted away after trespassing on a property.

Nor does the trespasser have to explain their identity or why there were there. Today's move - under the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 - makes trespass a specific offence on designated sites, and allows offenders to be jailed for up to six months.

The offence was created in response to a security breach by self-styled ``comedy terrorist' Aaron Barschak, who gatecrashed Prince William's 21st birthday party at Windsor Castle dressed as Osama bin Laden in 2003.

The new offence was also backed by an official report into how a Daily Mirror journalist got a job as a Buckingham Palace footman in the same year.

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The 16 areas are:

t Sandringham House, Norfolk;

t Buckingham Palace;

t St James's Palace;

t Highgrove House, Gloucestershire;

t Windsor Castle, Berkshire.

t The Palace of Westminster and Portcullis House;

t 10-12 Downing Street site plus 70 Whitehall;

t The Prime Minister's country residence, the Chequers estate, Buckinghamshire;

t Ministry of Defence Main Building, Whitehall;

t Old War Office Building, Whitehall;

t MI6's headquarters at 85 Albert Embankment, London;

t MI5's headquarters at Thames House in Millbank, London;

t Government listening post - Government Communication Headquarters (GCHQ) - Cheltenham;

t GCHQ at Hubble Road, Cheltenham;

t GCHQ at Racecourse Road, Scarborough, North Yorkshire;

t GCHQ, Woodford, Bude, Cornwall.