Russia and China have been identified as having the most active spy networks operating in the UK but it is understood that some European countries are also involved in espionage attacks against Britain.
Details of the spy plots were revealed in a government security document obtained by The Sunday Telegraph which states that Britain is “high priority espionage target” for 20 foreign intelligence agencies.
Security sources have revealed that the list of foreign agencies operating within the UK includes Iran, Syria, North Korea and Serbia, as well as some members of the European Union, such as France and Germany, who have traditionally been regarded as allies.
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The document, marked “restricted”, warns that foreign spies are trying to steal secrets related to the military, optics, communications, genetics and aviation industries.
The report, which was drawn up by an Army intelligence cell inside Whitehall, warns that it is too easy to “lose sight” of the threat from traditional espionage and become solely focused on attacks by al Qaeda.