By Humphrey Carter

PALMA
THE National Police have opened a full investigation into how a member of the Spanish Royal Household's Guardia Civil security team apparently had his pistol, personal documentation and security pass for Marivent Palace stolen.

According to security sources, the incident happened on Thursday and the robbery was reported by the Civil Guard in person to the National Police and the main station in Palma.

The Guardia Civil and the Local Police were immediately briefed about the incident and security instantly stepped up around the Palace and the King and Queen of Spain who arrived on the island at the start of their summer holiday a week ago.

The Civil Guard's personal access code for Marivent Palace was canceled within minutes of the theft having been reported and the National Police mounted an exhaustive search of the area around the Palace, Porto Pi, in case the stolen belt pouch containing the pistol, ID and security pass, had been discarded in the area.

However, as of going to press last night, the police had not found the pistol or security pass and all of the security forces were working in close cooperation in the hunt for stolen items.

Exactly how the belt pouch was stolen has not been revealed.
Yesterday security around the Palace was extremely tight because of the official visit by the Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez but, at least until the stolen weapon and pass are found, security around the royal household is expected to remain tighter than usual.

Over 400 extra police have been deployed to the Balearics to boost summer security across the Balearics and the royal protection squad is also based on the island for the duration of the Spanish royal family's annual summer holiday.

Over the next few weeks the Crown Prince Felipe and his wife Princess Letizia are expected to join the King and Queen and the rest of the family at Marivent Palace. Felipe and the King may both compete in the forthcoming Cope del Rey sailing regatta.

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