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Scientology film team targeted by vandals

The East Grinstead Observer, 16 July 1995

by David Harrison

STAFF AT a television company embroiled in a legal battle with the Church of Scientology have had cars vandalised and a mobile phone 'cloned' and used to run up a huge bill.

Staff at Twenty Twenty, an independent production company, believe they are being harassed by Scientologists over their investigation into the church's activities, broadcast on Carlton TV's The Big Story last Thursday.

Windscreens and lights of three cars belonging to Twenty Twenty employees were smashed shortly before the programme was shown. A fourth car, which did not belong to a company employee, was also vandalised.

The vehicles were parked near the company's offices in Camden, north London. 'It looked like a baseball bat job,' said Claudia Milne, the programme's executive producer. The 'cloned' phone belonged to Alison Braund, the reporter who attended a course at the church's headquarters at East Grinstead, West Sussex, last month.

Police are investigating and have not ruled out a connection with the Church of Scientology.

The church has issued writs against Twenty Twenty, Carlton, producer Simon Berthon, Ms Milne and Ms Braund. It alleges that they tried to obtain services by deception. Lawyers for Carlton are attempting to have the summonses, due to be heard on 28 July, overturned.

Margaret Reese, the church's UK director of public affairs, said suggestions that scientologists were behind the vandalism and the phone cloning were ridiculous.

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