Crabb and the hotel register

Buster Crabb.
Buster Crabb.
Portsmouth in 1717 (from William Gates History of Portsmouth, 1900)

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It seems the police officers who attended the Sally Port Hotel, Old Portsmouth, shortly after diver Buster Crabb’s (left) disappearance in Portsmouth Harbour in 1956 threatened the owner with the Official Secrets Act if he did not show the officers the register.

It appears they were completely out of order and the issue was raised in the House of Commons at prime minister’s questions.

It was, and no doubt still is, the requirement of an hotel owner to keep the register for a year and no one was allowed to interfere with it.

By tearing out the pages, the names of others who had stayed at the hotel were also removed.

The police officers in removing four (not two as reported) pages of the register were in fact making the owner of the Sally Port Hotel break the law.

There was also no way he should have been threatened with the Official Secrets Act as the case was in the public domain by the time the officers did what they did.

The plot thickens in this fascinating story.