Irish rockers U2 have blasted conspiracy theories they arranged for their latest album to be stolen in France - but confess even the country's police suspected them.

The VERTIGO band were staying in the south of France when the eagerly awaited album HOW TO DISMANTLE AN ATOMIC BOMB was reportedly stolen, sparking fears it would surface on the internet before it hit record store shelves.

But cynics were quick to brand the incident a publicity stunt orchestrated by the band themselves, aimed at creating hype ahead of its release.

Singer BONO says, "It would look better on us in a way if we did plan it, but we didn't. I missed Bastille Night with my kids because I was held for four hours by the French police, trying to explain to them why I would not rob my own album!

"Fair play to them, everyone was guilty 'til proven innocent! They took it very seriously and I kept saying, 'Can I go now?' and they kept going, 'No.'"

23/12/2004 09:42