Christmas is recruitment season for British spooks
Christmas is recruitment season for British spooks

British military intelligence have attempted to lure a man across the border with the promise of cut-price Christmas toys in order to effect his arrest.

The plot involved intelligence services trying to recruit John Carleton as an agent so he could encourage the target to travel to Newry and be arrested-

The plan was put to the north Belfast man when he was pulled over as he drove along the A1 Belfast-Dublin road.

After stopping his vehicle on the hard shoulder Mr Carleton said a man in plain clothes with an English accent got into the passenger seat and started to show him crime scene pictures of a killing in 2007 which he claimed was carried out by members of the Continuity IRA.

Mr Carleton says he was encouraged to get “a certain person” to cross the border so he could he arrested for the killing.

“I said I didn’t want to look at pictures of a man’s body and for them to get out of the car and leave me alone,” he said.

“But he said I should help them by getting this certain person to cross the border and go to Smyth’s toy shop in Newry.

“They said I should tell him I know someone who works there and can get a lot of discount off toys for Christmas. Once I got him there they said I could just leave him to them.”

A number of other attempts to recruit informers have been reported in recent weeks to capitalise on people’s financial problems ahead of Christmas.

Last month, MI5 attempted to recruit a north Belfast woman to inform on her husband, a former prisoner, by sending her an envelope in the post containing 500 pounds in cash. Martine McCafferty came forward to the media after she phoned an enclosed number and found herself speaking to an MI5 handler.

Another woman has reportedly been told by the ‘Real IRA’ to quit the North folllowing allegations against her.

Mr Carleton said approaches to him started after his brother Francis was arrested inconnection with alleged ‘dissident’ activity in June of this year.

Shortly after his brother’s arrest, the north Belfast man said the PSNI made their first attempt to recruit him as an informer, offering him “thousands” to gather information on named individuals.

Mr Carleton claimed he was told that if he cooperated his brother would be bailed and all charges against him dropped.

“I have a young family and I’m afraid of what’s going to happen next,” he said. “It’s pure harassment and the stress it’s putting my family under is unbearable. I have no connection to any organisation and I feel my life is being put at risk by all the attention around me and my home.”

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© 2011 Irish Republican News