Secret Photos 'Helped Plan Batman's Palace Protest'

Tue 14 Sep 2004
7:26pm (UK)

By Phil Hazlewood, PA News
A member of the campaign group Fathers 4 Justice tonight claimed he took
secret pictures inside Buckingham Palace more than a month before a fellow
protester climbed the walls of the Queenıs official residence.

Ray Barry, the groupıs West Midlands co-ordinator, reconnoitred possible
access routes and high visibility vantage points for yesterdayıs stunt
during a guided tour of the palace in early August.

He claimed he smuggled a credit card-size digital camera through security
checks at the entrance for public visits and was unchallenged despite the
presence of dozens of staff and guides and signs forbidding photography.

Mr Barry, 54, of Castlecroft, Wolverhampton, told PA News: ³It was very
easy. Security was very lax.²

Questions have been asked about the level of security at Buckingham Palace
since yesterdayıs protest, which saw Fathers 4 Justice member Jason Hatch
climb onto a ledge near the buildingıs ceremonial balcony dressed as Batman.

Speaking about his undercover operation using the camera, which was bought
on internet auction site eBay for £30, Mr Barry said he posed as a regular

³I went around taking a few photographs of windows and balconies to
demonstrate to the other members of the group ideas that Iıd picked up from
the tour,² he said.

³On the outside of the building, within the grounds, I was taking shots of
possible routes of access and the top of the building.²

Mr Barry was involved in a similar stunt at Birmingham County Court last
month which also involved Jason Hatch and ³Robin² Dave Pyke protesting on
scaffolding for several hours.

But Mr Barry said his involvement in the London protest ended when he
downloaded the shots onto his computer and showed them to other group

He insisted it was only when he and other Fathers 4 Justice members were at
Londonıs Bow Street Magistrates Court for the hearing of a protester
arrested for a purple flour bomb attack on the Prime Minister in the House
of Commons that word filtered through about Buckingham Palace.

Asked about security at the palace, he said: ³It was lax. They donıt explain
why they donıt want photographs taken. But there were a number of people who
were taking conventional cameras through. It was almost as though we were on
our honour not to take photographs.

³If itıs important not to take pictures, one would think that cameras would
almost always have to be left behind. There was a request to check bags in
and leave them. My experience links with all of the stories about
inconsistency and lax security.²