VIP contacts found on £150 BlackBerry

A SHEFFIELD student bought a BlackBerry for £150 from a homeless man – only to find the device was packed with personal details of top Labour politicians and other VIPs.

Darryl Curtis, aged 44, who is in the second year of a journalism course at Sheffield Hallam University, has handed the phone to the police who are investigating the case.

It is believed the BlackBerry belonged to the city's former chief executive Sir Bob Kerslake – as it contains his National Insurance number, home address and computer passwords.

Darryl, from Norfolk Park, said he had been interviewing homeless people at the Archer Project based at Sheffield Cathedral for an assignment.

"One of the homeless guys knew I was a journalism student and said his friend had a BlackBerry with the numbers for Tony Blair and Buckingham Palace on it," he said.

"I arranged to meet him and I paid him 150. There was in fact no number for Tony Blair but there was Buckingham Palace – as well a load of top Labour people including John Prescott, Richard Caborn, Ed Balls and David Miliband.

In total the BlackBerry contained details of several hundred people, including ministers, MPs, councillors, civil servants and senior police officers.

Darryl said: "I wasn't sure entirely what might have happened – whether it had been lost, stolen or recycled and had not had its memory chip cleared," he added.

A South Yorkshire police spokesman said: "We are satisfied we have traced the owner but an investigation continues into the circumstances of a reported theft," he said.

"There was a theft of a BlackBerry from a car, involving a forced entry, in September 2006. The BlackBerry will remain in police hands until further inquiries are carried out. We have made arrangements with the owner to identify the device."

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