Recruitment bid subject of official complaint

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A 21-year-old republican man has lodged a complaint with the Police Ombudsman after Special Branch PSNI police tried to recruit him as an informer during a trip to England.

A video was taken by County Tyrone man Peter Tuohey as he was challenged by two men who approached him at a motorway service station in an incident which took place last year.

The 21-year-old had travelled to England to buy a car when the approach took place.

Mobile phone footage of the incident taken by Mr Tuohey shows two men with northern accents asking him to speak to them.

During the brief recruitment bid, one of the men asks Mr Tuohey to “give me five minutes of your time”.

The Cookstown man later told the pair: “I have nothing to say to you.”

Mr Tuohey now believes the men who approached him had gained access to his mobile phone and emails. He believes they may have been undercover members of the PSNI. “I have to assume it’s the cops because of the accent,” he said.

His lawyer Darragh Mackin, of Phoenix Law, said his client was approached “without any justifiable reason”.

“Such an approach not only seeks to endanger our client, but it is plainly contrary to the intention of the legislation that allows for such activity in the first place,” he said.

Saoradh said that this week there had been another attempt by British Military Intelligence to gather information on local republicans, this time at an airport.

A Saoradh member was detained by security and was then approached by agents when he quickly cut short the conversation and moved on. He then received an ominous text message making reference to the country he had just visited.

Local Saoradh representative, Paddy Gallagher said, “For the past number of years we have seen an increase of this type of activity around airports and foreign countries. We urge everyone, Republican or otherwise to be vigilant.

“We encourage anyone who finds themselves facing similar harassment or intimidation at the hands of the British State to contact a solicitor and your local Saoradh representative or call to our offices at 14 Chamberlain Street. Alternatively you can contact us via Facebook or phone us on 028-71271967.”

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