Did we take out MI6’s secret line?

By James Cook on September 6th, 2013

Yesterday, The Kernel reported on a secret telephone number that an anonymous tipster claimed was being used by MI6 to issue encrypted messages to overseas agents in the Middle East. We identified it as the telephone version of a “numbers station”, a shortwave radio communication spies use to communicate with one another.

As of this afternoon, that communications system has been taken down. Instead of hearing two bars of a classic English folk tune, callers are instead relayed a message telling them to use “backup channel romeo x-ray three nine”, followed by “end”. The Lincolnshire Poacher’s new home on the phone system would appear to have been raided.

The Kernel, along with several of our readers, received a text message from a new number informing us that the “Lincolnshire Poacher” telephone number is restricted, asking us that we do not call it again. When we tried to call the new number that the text message was sent from, we were informed that the number was not recognised.

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At the time of writing, our original recording of the telephone number has been listened to by over 6,000 people. Presumably concerned by the number of calls that the number has received after we published it, whoever runs it has stopped transmitting the mysterious numbers.

You can listen to our recording of the original telephone call here: