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A security chief and a former royal marine commando have admitted stealing cash and confidential papers from the United Arab Emirates embassy in London, The Times reported.

Dean Manister, 51, who was head of security, and marine Lee Hurford, who was working at the embassy in Belgravia, stole papers, passports and cash from three safes in September 2018.

According to the report, the pair had previously been accused of attempting to use the stolen documents and other items to blackmail an unnamed VIP at the embassy for £3 million, but the prosecution at Southwark crown court chose not to pursue conspiracy charges.

Prosecutor Tyrone Silcott was quoted as saying that Manister was not physically involved in the thefts but had used the information he gained as head of security to help Hurford.

Both men admitted the offences and were granted bail. They will be sentenced in June after pleading guilty to theft.