A compact camera believed to contain sensitive information and images relating to al Qaeda terror suspects, is at the centre of a British police investigation.

A member of the public alerted Hertfordshire police after buying the digital compact on eBay for £17.

The camera is reported to contain al Qaeda suspects’ fingerprints and academic records. Pictures of rocket launches and missiles were also stored in the memory, according to media reports.

Police have confirmed to Amateur Photographer that a computer has also been seized as part of its investigation. The person who handed the camera to police lives in Hemel Hempstead.

Asked whether the police would be liaising with intelligence services and the government as part of its investigation, a spokesman for Hertfordshire police added: ‘We will speak to all the appropriate agencies.’

However, police have distanced themselves from press reports that the camera may have belonged to an MI6 agent.

Police said they moved to correct a Reuters press report published earlier today which said that ?intelligence services are investigating?.

According to the police, the quote should have read that ‘[police] intelligence officers’ were investigating.

In a statement Hertfordshire Police said: ?We can confirm that we have seized a camera after a member of the public made contact with us. Hertfordshire Constabulary are investigating.?

Police were unable to comment further.

Neither would police confirm that the camera was a Nikon Coolpix model, as reported in the media today.

NEWS UPDATE 8 October 2008

Picture credit: Chris Cheesman

Nikon camera in spy mystery