LONDON Nov 13 British police are investigating
how an intruder breached the walls of the Tower of London and
stole a set of keys from the tourist attraction and home of the
Locks to the Tower's drawbridges and other rooms have been
changed after a man was caught trespassing in the early hours of
Nov. 6 and escorted from the premises, according to a royal
The stolen keys did not provide access to the Tower itself,
Historic Royal Palaces said in a statement, but admitted a lapse
"Our well-established security systems and procedures are
robust. However on this occasion, these procedures were not
carried out to the expected standard," it said.
The Tower was begun by William the Conqueror in the 1080s
and has been used by British monarchs as a home, place of
execution and a prison for traitors ever since. Henry VIII had
Anne Boleyn executed here.
The crown jewels on display at the palace include a solid
gold crown weighing over 2 kg (4.4 lb) and the 105 carat
Koh-i-Nur ("Mountain of Light") diamond.
A police spokesman said the incident was under
The Tower is traditionally staffed by ceremonial custodians,
known as Yeoman Warders (nicknamed "Beefeaters"), former members
of the British armed forces whose elaborate scarlet and gold
tunics are one of the best known symbols of the capital.
The warders give tours and carry out the Ceremony of the
Keys, the traditional locking up of the Tower of London that has
taken place on each and every night, without fail, for at least
700 years and is a popular tourist attraction.
A young warder foiled a more audacious theft in 1671, when a
gang of thieves attempted to make off with the crown jewels by
smuggling them out under the cloaks and down their trousers.
(Reporting By Alessandra Prentice, editing by Paul Casciato)