Foreign spies tried to get Brits to leak secrets 10,000 times in past five years, MI5 says

FOREIGN spies tried to get Brits working in tech, science and business to leak secrets 10,000 times in the past five years, MI5 says.

And the worrying surge in hostile states trying to steal secrets means everyone needs to be on their guard against spying attempts from the likes of China and Russia, our spy chief Ken McCallum will say today.

The shock figure relates to “disguised approaches” from foreign agents, who were “seeking to manipulate” Brit experts.

This includes attempts to turn them into fully fledged agents of hostile states, as wells as efforts to lure them into passing on secrets, either knowingly or unwittingly.

Mr McCallum, 46, will set out the level of danger in his first annual threat speech today.

He will urge the public to be switched on about espionage in the same way the nation has adapted to the ever-present spectre of terrorism — and play its part in defeating it.

Mr McCallum, MI5’s youngest boss to date, warned: “UK victims of state espionage range way wider than just government.

“We see the UK’s brilliant universities and researchers having their discoveries stolen or copied.

“We see businesses hollowed out by the loss of advantage they have worked painstakingly to build.

“This is happening at scale — and it affects us all. UK jobs, UK public services, UK futures.”

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