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 Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Weather bomb in pictures: Storms cuts power for tens of thousands – and snow is on the way
Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
Russell Brand was rendered speechless on Question Time by this man
Fury at Airbus after it hints the super-jumbo may be mothballed
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Shock poll shows voters believe Ukip is to the left of the Tories
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Ukip candidate jokes about 'shooting peasants' in racist and homophobic rant
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre
iJobs Money & Business
$200 - $350 per annum: Carlton Senior Appointments: Managing Producer Office...
$125 - $225 per annum: Carlton Senior Appointments: San Fran - Investment Advi...
Up to £70,000 per annum + benefits: Sheridan Maine: Are you a qualified accoun...
Up to £65,000 per annum + benefits: Sheridan Maine: Are you a qualified accoun...