“Animal Terrorist Group Foiled by Informant Dressed as a Beagle,” declared a headline in The Sunday Times on March 1. The article by Jack Grimston details how Adrian Radford, an intelligence services instructor and former member of the British military, spent three years inside the Animal Liberation Front. Radford, who used the name Ian Farmer, was widely known for the beagle costume he wore at demonstrations; the costume had been supplied by the police. According to Grimston, Radford allegedly participated in a number of raids and supplied his handlers with information that Grimston implies led to the arrest of activists with the Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (SHAC) campaign.
In January 2009, seven members of SHAC ― Daniel Amos, Gregg Avery, Natasha Avery, Gavin Medd-Hall, Heather Nicholson, Gerrah Selby and Daniel Wadham ― were sentenced to prison for their six-year campaign against Huntingdon Life Sciences after having been found guilty of conspiracy to blackmail.
Grimston writes: “In January 2007, the police finally pulled Radford out to allow them to round up the group’s leadership without arousing suspicion. They put him under surveillance so that it appeared to the ALF that he was compromised and being panicked into leaving.”
Activists posting comments on the UK’s Indymedia site, however, have a different view. They have pointed out a variety of errors in Grimston’s reporting, such as stating that ALF has leadership.
“[Radford] knows full well that SHAC is NOT the ALF and that Greg, Natasha, Heather and Mel [Broughton] are NOT ALF leaders, the ALF is an idea, it has no leaders, ” writes UK activist Lynn Sawyer.
A campaigner using the name Ian Skivens (actually a police officer well known among UK activists) adds: “It’s quite funny really, that this guy achieved nothing, except according to the article, supplying SHAC with a nice beagle costume. Thanks NETCU [National Extremism Tactical Coordination Unit] — keep the gifts coming!”