Spying on allies gives 'advantage over rivals'

The British Embassy in Berlin is situated in the heart of Berlin's political district. Credit: Fiona Hanson/PA Archive/Press Association Images

A listening postalleged to have been operating on the roof of the British Embassy in Berlincould have been used to gather economic and political intelligence to benefitthe UK, an expert has suggested.

Spying on "friendly" countries occurs throughout the world as nations attempt to gain an advantage over rivals and there are "big stakes at play", Professor Richard Aldrich said.

Warwick University's professor of international security said the kind of activity allegedly carried out by the British in the heart of Berlin's political district was "pretty universal".

He said: "This stuff is so ubiquitous and we now have documentary evidence to show that Britain regularly runs covert listening stations out of embassies and consulates, as does everybody else."