Intimate photographs of Prince William and his girlfriend Kate Middleton were nearly made public, but the plot to sell the shots was foiled by a British newspaper.
The pictures, including some of the couple on holiday in the Caribbean island of Mustique recently, were offered to The Sun for a staggering £50,000 but the paper quickly alerted police to the plot.
The shots came from a flashcard taken from a camera which was reported as stolen at around midday last Friday (29.08.08). Within an hour of the crime report emerging, two men – who claimed they were called George and John – contacted the tabloid paper and made the offer.
John and George then arranged a meeting with a reporter from the newspaper, where they showed the photographs, which included pictures of 26-year-old Kate in a tiny bikini and never-before-seen shots of the couple cuddling.
Following the meeting, the reporter informed police and officers then gathered enough evidence to arrest the suspects.
Yesterday (31.08.08), police made a morning raid on a house in West London and arrested a 25-year-old man on charges of theft and attempted money laundering. He was released on bail after a 10-hour questioning session.
A spokesperson from the Metropolitan Police said: “Shortly after midday on Friday August 29, police received an allegation of the theft of a digital camera. That was registered in the borough of Kensington and Chelsea.
“The theft took place shortly before midday. The Sun was approached shortly after midday with the photographs.
“The assistance The Sun has given in this case has been invaluable and we are very grateful. We are not looking for anyone else at this stage.”
A source close to 25-year-old William said: “William was very concerned to hear that private pictures of him and the Middleton family had been stolen.
When the suspect’s house was raided they were accompanied by royal protection officers.”