Below are details of all the undercover police officers known to have spied on the animal rights movement since the eighties. The 13 listed represent only the tip of the iceberg, given that the Special Demonstrations Squad (SDS) had over 100 operatives during its 40 year history and the National Public Order Intelligence Unit (NPOIU) probably dozens more. Regional Special Branch units also infiltrated campaign groups. This list does not include spies hired by corporations, such as the ones used by McDonald’s to infiltrate London Greenpeace, or informants. More information on many of the spycops can be found on the Undercover Research Group’s website: http://undercoverresearch.net/undercover-profiles/
James Adams was the pseudonym given by an undercover officer working for NPOIU who pretended to be an executive for the pharma giant Novartis in 2010. Militant direct action groups had targeted the company because it was a customer of the notorious vivisection laboratory Huntingdon Life Sciences. As a result it brought an injunction against Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty, despite the group having no direct link with the attacks.
Debbie Vincent, SHAC’s coordinator, and another activist held a series of meetings with Adams and Andrew Jackson, Global Head of Corporate Security at Novartis. They thought the purpose was to reach a compromise over the injunction but in reality the intention was to coax them into offering to return the remains of the mother of Novartis’ director, Daniel Vasella, which had been taken from the family mausoleum. Debbie made it clear she had no idea who did this. Adams took the initiative in the conversations and according to Debbie he “asked leading questions about whether we were the right people” to talk to.
Shortly afterwards Adams followed Debbie onto the underground and again brought up the Vasella remains. In July 2012 Debbie was arrested on the same day as Sven van Hasselt and Natasha Simpkins and charged with conspiracy to blackmail. At Debbie’s trial in Winchester two years later the truth about James Adams was revealed to the defence at the last moment. The judge ruled the evidence admissible and it formed an important plank in the case against her, ultimately leading to her conviction.
Gary Rayner was the alias used by a NPOIU agent who spied on animal rights from 2006-2010. He was mainly involved in the SPEAK campaign against Oxford University’s animal lab and was the replacement for Ritchie Clarke (see below). For the first two years he had a partner named Abigail who is believed to have been another undercover police officer. He lived in Oxford and claimed to be a freelance web-designer who worked from home.
Rayner chose Oxford Animal Protection as his entry point into animal rights. Shortly afterwards he went to a SPEAK meeting and began attending the regular Thursday demonstrations the group organised against the Oxford lab. Gary befriended the group’s main organiser, Mel Broughton, who stayed with Gary and Abigail one week before he was arrested for arson against Oxford University in December 2007. He also attended various activists’ trials and court hearings and also protests at a lab in Ledbury named Sequani. In addition he was at Animal Rights Coalition meetings and Animal Rights Gatherings in the UK.
In 2008 Rayner went to the International AR Gathering in Norway with other activists. While there he spent time with Debbie Vincent, even helping her with washing up. A photo of Debbie with Sven van Hasselt and Natasha Simpkins taken at the gathering was later used as evidence by the police and it’s believed this was taken by Rayner. The spycop quit animal rights to allegedly move abroad in 2010.
Adrian Radford was – according to his Powerbase profile – “a corporate spy who also worked for ‘the government’ and for the police”. Radford used the name Ian Farmer to infiltrate gay rights groups during the nineties then, from 2004-07, SHAC. His deployment began at the Animal Rights Gathering in Kent in September 2004. Extrovert and likeable, he was known for wearing a beagle costume at demonstrations and quickly became friends with leading figures in SHAC.
He was allowed to work at the group’s headquarters and, in an interview he gave in 2009, said he was then asked “to offer his services to the police and was released from his government work to do this.” He claims he “reported on every detail” of SHAC, meeting his police handlers daily to give them “detailed information on hardcore extremists,” including dozens of documents he was supposed to have burned, or showing them notes of conversations he had written on his body. He would have been working for the NPOIU.
Radford admits taking part in unlawful activities to boost his credibility although he claimed to have sabotaged some actions. He left SHAC in January 2007 by pretending to have been panicked by police surveillance. The Operation Achilles raids four months later saw 32 activists arrested. The reliability of some of his claims have been questioned. His Powerbase page says: “Much of what is known of Radford’s infiltration comes from his own account only, and there are questions over how much it was embellished.”
Ritchie Clarke was the alias used by an NPOIU agent deployed in animal rights from 2002-2006. He lived in Bedford and was heavily involved in Bedford Animal Action as well as national campaigns by SHAC and against proposed labs in Cambridge and Oxford. Clarke was described by activists who knew him as a big, friendly guy who liked eating, drinking and smoking. He could also be very macho and un-PC. He was known as being a flirt and lecherous although it appears he never had intimate relationships with his targets.
He was part of the SPEAC national campaign against the building of an animal lab in Cambridge from 2002-04. This was successful and activists then set up SPEAK to stop another lab going ahead in Oxford. Weekly protests were held and Clarke attended them regularly. He was also at the front of the first SPEAK march and was described as “making a beeline” for Mel Broughton, of the group’s main organisers.
Clarke was involved in other national campaigns such as SHAC and Save the Newchurch Guinea Pigs, driving minibuses and cars on “home visits” against those involved in vivisection. He went hunt sabbing and attended animal rights gatherings in the UK. On a number of occasions he was arrested. Clarke supposedly had an on/off relationship with a Scandinavian woman who occasionally visited him in the UK. In late 2005 he said he was moving to Norway to be with her as she was pregnant. He told activists “don’t try and look me up” and left the movement the following year.
Rod Richardson was the alias used by a spy from the NPOIU who mainly infiltrated environmental and anti-capitalist groups from 1999-2003. He was active in London, Essex and also went hunt sabbing in the Nottingham area where he spent a lot of time from 2000-on. It is believed he may have taken part in other animal rights protests such as one organised by SHAC against a Japanese company, Yanamouchi, which was a customer of HLS.
He left the activist scene in 2003 claiming to be moving abroad to live with his girlfriend Jo, who he had been with throughout his deployment. He visited Nottingham less often but remained active in London with groups like the WOMBLES (an offshoot of Reclaim the Streets) and he went to an anti-globalisation action at the Evian Summit in June 2003. After that he vanished.
Dave Evans was the pseudonym used by a police spy who joined London Animal Action in September 1999 as the replacement for Christine Green. Like his predecessor John Dines he claimed to be a Kiwi and spoke with a New Zealand accent. He attended most of LAA’s meetings as well as many demonstrations but, unlike Green and Matt Rayner, he did not become treasurer. On a number of occasions Evans was accompanied by a woman named Wanda who claimed to be his girlfriend but almost certainly was a spycop too.
He had a van which he used for his job as a gardener and he is known to have done gardening work for at least one activist. He also drove one of four minibuses hired by LAA for a SHAC Day of Action in February 2001 in which more than 80 arrests were made. Evans was not one of them. He also attended many of the fur protests the group organised at the time.
Evans had a reputation for behaving strangely and enjoying the social side of activism. On one occasion he left a protest after a few minutes claiming his flatmate had been locked out. Another time he disappeared for weeks prompting people who knew him to go round to his flat and speak to someone claiming to be his flatmate. This was probably the undercover officer named Jason Bishop. He and Evans drove activists to the G8 Summit in Scotland in 2005. All those in Evans’ minibus were arrested but the charges were later dropped. This was the last confirmed sighting of him.
Jim Boyling was an undercover officer from the SDS who used the alias Jim Sutton to infiltrate animal rights, enivronmental and anti-capitalist groups from 1995 to 2000. He joined North East London Hunt Saboteurs and in February 1996 he was one of several sabs who were stopped by the police on their way to a hunt. Three – not including Boyling – were prosecuted for public order offences and acquitted. They are now core participants in the public inquiry.
Boyling then became part of Reclaim the Streets and was once of the architects of the J18 Carnival Against Capitalism in June 1999 which brought chaos to the City of London. About this time he also began an intimate relationship with a female activist named Laura (not her real name). He left her and the group in 2000 but a year later they reunited and he confessed his true identity to her. They married and had two children but she divorced him four years later because of his abusive behaviour.
While they were together, Boyling told Laura the truth about Bob Lambert – who had been his manager – and John Dines. He is supposed to have said: “I feel really sorry for Helen [Steel], she was spied on three times – by me, Lambert and Dines. After they split up Laura told Helen about Lambert and Dines, which led to their public exposure as spycops.
Christine Green was the alias of an SDS agent who was deployed from January 1995 to early 2000 in the animal rights movement, especially LAA. She was the replacement for Andy Coles who quit he group one month after she arrived. Like Coles she lived in Streatham and mainly spied on activists in south London. Her address was: Flat one, 18 Farm Avenue, Streatham, SW16 2UT. She had a mobile phone, a rarity in those days.
She could seem cold and aloof and initially attracted suspicion but quickly became a core member of LAA. After Matt Rayner left the group she became its treasurer. Green attended nearly all the group’s meetings, both public ones and planning meetings in the office. Like all SDS agents she had a van and she drove activists to the 1997 World Lab Animal Day demo at Consort in Hertfordshire, where there was a riot. She was also very involved in hunt sabbing.
Green is the only identified female agent from the Met. In their book Undercover Rob Evan and Paul Lewis said: “Women were rarely recruited to the SDS. Insiders describe the unit as macho and competitive.” She later began a relationship with a prominent hunt saboteur before announcing in 2000 that she was going abroad. It is believed the two of them reunited when she returned as they were seen together on a number of occasions up to about 2011. In 2017 they were traced to an address in Scotland. After being outed by activists in February 2018 she made a publicly statement attacking the Met for confirming she had been a spycop.
Matt Rayner was the alias of an SDS agent who was deployed from November 1991 for five years. He mainly spied on London Boots Action Group (LBAG) and LAA. Although there were initially suspicions about him, he quickly became a trusted and popular member of the movement and used his van to transport people to protests and for sabbing. In 1993 he drove to Aintree for the Grand National when the race was abandoned due to activists occupying the course. Geoff Sheppard was sentenced to seven years in 1995 and is now appealing on the grounds that Rayner “deliberately encouraged him to take more serious direct
action…and to commit crimes he had been initially unwilling to carry out.” Bob Lambert (see below), Rayner’s manager, had also spied on Geoff in the 1980s. Rayner enjoyed socialising, always having a birthday drink, and was even filmed taking part in a play at a garden party. In 1996 he moved to France to work for a wine company. Friends visited him there but after several months he wrote saying he was relocating to work in Argentina. After a few more letters he was never heard from again. As a result of knowing his date of birth, activists were able to prove he was a spy who stole the identity of a child who died in 1972
Andy Coles aka Davey infiltrated the animal rights movement from November 1991 to February 1995. Known as “Andy Van”, he joined London Boots Action Group and went sabbing with Brixton Hunt Saboteurs. He was based in Streatham, south London, and had a reputation as “creepy” and “a lech” because of his inappropriate behaviour towards women. He had IT skills, began producing LBAG’s newsletter in 1993, and in 1994 transfered the group’s membership list to his computer. The same year he was involved in setting up London Animal Rights Coalition.
In early 1995 he said he was moving abroad to teach English. An activist friend received a letter from Budapest in January 1996 after which he was never heard from again. In February 2017 it was revealed that Andy Coles, Tory councillor for Peterborough and deputy police and crime commissioner for Cambridgeshire, was Andy Davey.
An activist named Jessica (not her real name) said they’d begun an intimate relationship when she was just 19 and she felt groomed by him as he claimed to be 24, when he was really 32 and married. Coles resigned as DPCC but did not comment further until he the public inquiry confirmed him as a spycop in March 2018. He accused Jessica of lying. She is taking legal action against him.
John Dines aka Barker was Lambert’s replacement in London Greenpeace, joining in October 1987. He was involved in squatting, anti-poll tax campaigning and the anarchist scene in north London, as well as animal rights. Dines drove protesters to demonstrations such as one against Sun Valley Chickens in Herefordshire, where he was supposedly arrested, and went hunt sabbing. In 1991 he threw a bag of flour during a picket of the Horse & Hound Ball but Geoff Sheppard was arrested by mistake. A few months later he he gave went to Geoff’s trial and may have given evidence. Geoff was convicted.
In 1990 he began an intimate relationship with Helen Steel which lasted until he disappeared in March 1992, feigning a mental crisis. Helen spent nearly 20 years trying to find him until she discovered he was an undercover officer in 2010. In March 2016 she confronted him in Australia where he works at a police training school and is course director for a training program for Indian police officers.
Bob Lambert aka Robinson, the second known spycop, was deployed from 1984-88. He infiltrated Islington Animal Rights, London Greenpeace and the Animal Liberation Front. Like nearly all SDS agents he drove a van which was used to ferry activists to and from demonstrations. One of them was Jacqui with whom he started a relationship. In late 1985 their son was born. While in London Greenpeace he co-wrote the What’s Wrong With McDonald’s factsheet which would later be the subject of a libel trial. He also produced the leaflet You are the ALF and a booklet called The London ALF News. He claimed to be a staunch advocate of direct action and told activists he had broken the law. Geoff Sheppard and Andrew Clarke are appealing their conviction for arson
against Debenhams in 1987 due to Lambert being part of the ALF cell. Paul Gravett says he told him he had planted an incendiary device at Selfridges department store in August 1988. Later that year he allegedly left the country while on the run from the police. In reality he stayed in Special Branch and later became operations manager of the SDS, supervising other spies.
The Special Demonstrations Squad began spying on the animal rights movement in the early 1980s. Mike Chitty aka Blake was the first spy deployed by the unit. In spring 1983 he rented a bedsit in Balham and joined South London Animal Movement. SLAM was very active locally against vivisection, fur and Battersea Zoo but Chitty remained on the sidelines, only doing the odd
stint of leafletting. He was in SDS parlance a “shallow paddler”. His deployment ended in 1987 but he continued to see members of the group on a social basis for another seven years and tried to rekindle a relationship he’d had with an activist. In 1994 he crashed his car on Worthing Pier and abandoned it after apparently suffering a mental breakdown. The following year Chitty sued the Met for £50,000 due to the “psychiatric affects resulting from the stress of his police duties between 1982 and 1992”. The case was dropped, he was awarded a sickness pension and moved to South Africa.