Why is this man so interested in my dustbin?: Chris Blackhurst lifts the lid on how far private investigators were prepared to go to track down leaks of information
Two journalists were on the BA hit list: myself and Roger Eglin of the Sunday Times. We had two things in common: we had written articles in the past that were critical of BA. And we both had dustbins.
Roger's rubbish was taken by John Reilly, a private investigator, in March, last year. My house was next but he had been spotted by Eglin's neighbour and was arrested before having the pleasure of examining my youngest child's disposable nappies and the baked beans and fish fingers my other two hadn't eaten. Last month, at Isleworth Crown Court, Reilly, from Twickenham, Middlesex, was fined pounds 150. (Yes, taking rubbish is stealing. It belongs to you or the council.) The Yard is now trying to establish the exact links in the chain from Reilly to BA.
For their part, senior BA executives say that, well, yes, Roger and I were the subject of investigation - to see who we talked to - but at no time did they sanction anything illegal. This sort of work, they say, is sub-contracted.
Reilly was hired by MLM Associates, a 'surveillance and covert investigation' firm which is based in Connaught Street, central London. He maintains he does not know who hired MLM.
The firm is run by Stuart Francis- Love, above, a former corporal in the Territorial SAS, and his partner, Harry Matthews. According to Reilly, my house was checked out and found to have a high, locked gate at the side. He said he was then given my name and address. Francis-Love has been interviewed by the police.
A spokesman at Scotland Yard said the investigation, into who asked whom to do what, was 'on-going'.
Covent Garden did not draw the line at my rubbish. Lists of my department's payments to contributors were obtained from my previous employer, the Sunday Express. Documents on the covert operation say the payment lists 'were passed to us through a very discreet source, and their ownership and origin could not be legally proven to the satisfaction of a court of law.'
If anyone would ever like to see inside my dustbin, they need only ask.
- 1 The BBC has just done more to eradicate ‘terrorism’ than all our wars since 9/11
- 2 Dog thinks owner is drowning in lake, dives in and tries to pull him out
- 4 Chilling drone footage captures Auschwitz ahead of 70th anniversary of liberation
- 5 Phil Neville backtracks on Tomas Rosicky 'I'd smash him' comments from Match of the Day 2
Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
Greece elections: Greek PM Alexis Tsipras takes aim at 'neo-liberal' Europe as country gears up for prolonged austerity battle
Auschwitz liberation 70th anniversary: Woman sent to three Nazi death camps describes surviving gas chamber
Pornhub star Mia Khalifa receives death threats after being ranked the site's top adult actress
Prince Philip set to be knighted by Australia: Celebrate by reading his greatest gaffes
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
French court convicts three over homophobic tweets, in case hailed as a 'significant victory' by LGBT rights campaigners
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
Islamic history is full of free thinkers - but recent attempts to suppress critical thought are verging on the absurd
Leaked documents show Ukip leaders approve NHS privatisation once it becomes more 'acceptable to the electorate'
iJobs Money & Business
£30000 - £32000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, int...
£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This rapidly expanding business...
£25 - 28k + Bonus: Guru Careers: An In-house / Internal Recruiter is needed to...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Tax Assistant is required to join a leading ...