Archives: 'Scottish Civilian Army' in anthrax scare

A SHADOWY group called the Scottish Civilian Army was behind an anthrax terrorist attack in 1981, according to secret files.

The attacks, which received worldwide press coverage, involved the dumping of soil from the anthrax-infected island of Gruinard at key sites, including the Scottish Office in Edinburgh, Porton Down chemical research lab and the Blackpool hotel staging the Conservative Party conference.

Gruinard, off the west coast of Scotland, was infected with anthrax by the army in 1941 as part of a test on the spread of the spores, amid fears Hitler was about the unleash the chemical on the UK.

A group calling itself Operation Dark Harvest claimed to have taken soil from the island for use in a terrorist campaign.

It was never made clear at the time whether the soil actually contained anthrax spores, but the files released yesterday showed the samples did test positive for the deadly infection.

A letter from the Scottish Health Department to Mr HC MacMillan, deputy chief constable of Northern Constabulary, said samples were "confirmed as containing anthrax spores".