I am in fear for my life: Undercover policeman tells the amazing story of his eight years with eco-warriors... and his life on the run

1 - Double identity: Mark Kennedy in his undercover days (1) and as he is now (right). He has received death threats from activists and sleeps in a barricaded room
  • Unmasked as spy by beautiful Welsh redhead girlfriend
  • Savagely beaten by five of his own police colleagues
  • Intelligence he gathered sent directly to PM Tony Blair

The undercover policeman who posed as an eco-warrior for eight years came out of hiding to tell his full, extraordinary story – and reveal that he fears for his life.

Mark Kennedy, 41, denies ‘going native’ and triggering the collapse of the trial of six environmental activists accused of trying to shut down one of Britain’s biggest power stations.

Describing a life lived ‘constantly on the edge’, he claims his former police bosses are searching for him in America, where he fled last year.


He has received death threats from activists and sleeps in a barricaded room.

‘I am in fear for my life and don’t know where to turn,’ he says. Mr Kennedy refutes suggestions that he crossed the line, became an agent provocateur and played a central role in organising the very protests police wanted him to sabotage.

‘My superiors knew where I was at all times – my BlackBerry was fitted with a tracking device – and they sanctioned every move I made. I didn’t sneeze without them knowing about it. I feel I’ve been hung out to dry.’

Speaking from a safe house, the former police officer tells how he led an astonishing double life as committed green anarchist Mark Stone before being ultimately let down by his handlers.

In an exclusive interview with The Mail on Sunday he reveals that:

  • He was unmasked as a spy after his beautiful redhead girlfriend of five years found his real passport.
  • Five policemen unaware of his undercover role savagely beat him up at a protest.
  • Intelligence he gathered was passed directly to Tony Blair, then Prime Minister.
  • Campaigners subjected him to a terrifying kangaroo court ordeal when his cover was blown.
  • He was ‘incompetently’ handled by officers and was denied psychological counselling.

Mr Kennedy is estranged from his wife, with whom he has two children, a boy of 12 and a ten-year-old girl.

‘My son has been crying and says he never wants to see me again,’ he says.
Former undercover cop Mark Kennedy

'A living nightmare': Mark Kennedy says both police and eco-activists are out to get him

The officer was recruited in 2002 by the Met’s National Public Order Intelligence Unit.

After his exposure last week, the secretive unit faced accusations that it ran ‘undemocratic’ operations. It has been urged to reveal the extent of its covert surveillance of peaceful protesters.

Mr Kennedy says he knows of at least 15 other officers who infiltrated the ranks of green campaigners in the past decade and of four who remain undercover.

He infiltrated and became a key member of the hardline group behind the alleged plot to shut down the Ratcliffe-on-Soar power station in Nottinghamshire in 2009.

When defence barristers submitted a disclosure request asking for information about his involvement, the prosecution apparently opted to abandon the case rather than have ‘murky’ evidence about the police’s involvement heard in public.

But Mr Kennedy says the case was doomed to fail anyway because covert recordings he supplied police proved undeniably that the six men facing trial last week for conspiracy to commit aggravated trespass were innocent.

Police withheld the recordings which, it was claimed yesterday, was the real reason the case collapsed.

Mr Kennedy’s case is now the subject of an investigation by the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

I've always respected the police. But the world of undercover policing is grey and murky. There is some bad stuff going on. Really bad stuff...



In an astonishing and revealing interview, Mark Kennedy today presents a very different image of the murky world of undercover policing to the one splashed across the media all week.

As Mark Stone, a long-haired drop-out mountaineer, nicknamed ‘Flash’ because of his access to ready cash, he attended scores of environmental protests in the UK and Europe.

But the man who sits before me is unrecognisable. His once lanky hair has been shorn into a neat short-back-and-sides. His grungy eco-warrior outfit of torn jeans and grubby T-shirt has been replaced by neatly pressed trousers, starched shirt and designer sweater. His full arm tattoos are covered by long sleeves. The only reminders of his former life are the piercings in his ears.


He is on the run, he says, from both his former police bosses and from activists who have made death threats against him. But he has also been swamped with offers for book and movie rights to his life story.

Speaking for the first time about what he calls ‘my living nightmare’, he says:

‘I can’t sleep. I have lost weight and am constantly on edge. I barricade the door with chairs at night. I am in genuine fear for my life. I have been told that my former bosses from the force are out here in America looking for me. I have been told by activists to watch my back as people are out to get me.

‘I have chosen to speak out because I want my story out there. People like to think of things in terms of black and white. But the world of undercover policing is grey and murky. There is some bad stuff going on. Really bad stuff.’

He says he is ‘horrified’ by accusations that he ‘crossed the line’, goading activists into actions they would not normally have considered.

‘I had a cover officer whom I spoke to numerous times a day,’ he says.

‘He was the first person I spoke to in the morning and the last person I spoke to at night. I didn’t sneeze without a superior officer knowing about it. My BlackBerry had a tracking device. My cover officer joked that he knew when I went to the loo.’

He is also furious at what he calls a ‘smear campaign’ that he bedded a string of vulnerable women to extract information.

He said angrily: ‘I had two relationships while I was undercover, one of which was serious. I am the first one to hold up my hands and say, yes, that was wrong.

‘I crossed the line. I fell deeply in love with the second woman. I was embedded into a group of people for nearly a decade. They became my friends. They supported me and they loved me. All I can do now is tell the truth. I don’t think the police are the good guys and the activists are bad or vice versa. Both sides did good things and bad things. I am speaking out as I hope the police can learn from the mistakes they made.

‘I was at the heart of a very sensitive operation. I was told my work was the benchmark for other undercover officers. My superior officer told me on more than one occasion, particularly during the G8 protests in Scotland in 2005, that information I was providing was going directly to Tony Blair’s desk.’


He admits he has had ‘a total transformation’ since his undercover days.

‘I am physically and mentally exhausted,’ he says. ‘I have had some dark thoughts. I thought I could end this very quickly.

‘I went to see a psychiatrist recently and told her I was having thoughts of suicide. I don’t have any confidence. My world has been destroyed. I don’t have any friends, they were all in the activist movement.’

Kennedy was born and raised in Orpington, Kent, the eldest son of traffic police officer John and housewife Sheila. His younger brother Ian is a landscape artist in America.

He left school at 16, worked as a court usher and joined the City of London Police in 1990, aged 21.

‘I always respected the police,’ he says. ‘I’ve given my life to them. I never imagined I would end up in this situation.’

As he speaks, over a period of several hours, it is abundantly clear he is a police officer. He talks in a clipped, concise manner. He gives details in a monotone voice. He often uses ‘police-speak’ and acronyms.

In the early Nineties he was a uniformed member of the ‘Ring of Steel’ around the City of London. He transferred to the Metropolitan Police and in 1996 was recruited to his first undercover course on street-level drug dealing.

‘I was a natural at undercover work and I loved it,’ he says.

‘Drug work was black and white. You identify the bad guys, record and film the evidence, present it in court and take them down. I did that for four years and loved it.’

Kennedy married in 1994 and had two children, a boy, now aged 12, and a daughter, ten. His wife lives in Ireland and is a staunch Catholic and for that reason they have not divorced.

He says his children are ‘heartbroken’ by the current turn of events: ‘My son has been crying and says he never wants to see me again,’ he says sadly.

His marriage failed in 2000, around the same time as he was approached by the Animal Rights National Index, a unit which became the National Public Order Intelligence Unit (NPOIU), a shadowy body that runs a nationwide intelligence database of political activists.

The unit comes under the control of the Association of Chief Police Officers which, as The Mail on Sunday has previously reported, is a limited company that sells information from the Police National Computer, among other concerns.

Kennedy says his cover officer would report back up a line of command who ‘were aware of everything I was doing. Every action I took had to receive something called an “authority” which covered me to infiltrate activist groups and be involved in minor crime such as trespass and criminal damage. In all the time I worked undercover I never broke the law.’

Kennedy says: ‘The NPOIU is extremely specialised and intense. It is difficult work. To infiltrate a group like the activists is hard, even though they are sociable and friendly at the lower level. I had to create a whole life, a whole backstory, and maintain credibility for years.’

Kennedy says he knew of 15 other operatives doing the same work as him during his eight years undercover.

‘Some got busted, others left,’ he says. ‘I was the longest-serving operative. At the time I left in 2009, there were at least four other operatives. I never did anything to jeopardise the work or lives of my fellow officers and I will not start now.’

Kennedy created what is known in the trade as ‘a legend’ – a believable backstory.

‘I was an avid rock climber and I had been to Pakistan so I created a story about being involved in the importation of drugs,’ he says.

‘I knew the London drug scene well so I purported to be a courier. That is how I justified having money.

‘I said I’d led a bad life and wanted to make amends, which was why I was drawn to eco-activism. I was also a keen climber, so I often worked as an industrial climber, which meant I had a means of showing I was “making” money, rather than the truth – which was that the NPOIU would wire it to me.

‘I was given a fake passport as Mark Stone, a driver’s licence, bank accounts, a credit card and a phone with a tracking device.’

His £50,000 annual police salary was paid into a private account in his real name. All other payments, which he says came to £200,000 a year, went into his ‘Mark Stone’ account. He says since dropping his cover ‘I have found it hard to sign my own name on cheques again’.

He was sent to Nottingham to the Sumac Centre, a hub of activists: ‘I started slowly and made friends. Then I went to my first gathering of the Earth First group where I met an activist called Mark Barnsley.

'Our friendship blossomed and he treated me like a brother. He is a cantankerous figure but was well respected for his anarchist and vegan principles and the fact that he had fought with the PLO.

‘I was one of the few people who had a van, which made me a real asset. Things we take for granted in the real world are rare in the activist world. In those days very few of them had a mobile phone. Even now not many drive. That’s how the Flash nickname came about. I had stuff.’

Kennedy was involved in numerous activities, ranging from protests at the Drax power station in Yorkshire to picketing arms fairs in London and the Karahnjukar Dam in Iceland. His climbing skills were used to scale towers and buildings to unfurl banners. He drove hundreds of activists to demonstrations.

‘I began to live the life and enjoy it,’ he says frankly. ‘People have this image of hairy tree huggers and, yes, there is an element of that. I used to joke about them not just being vegans, but “freegans”. I was with people who would dive into skips to get food if it was free. But there are also a lot of educated, passionate people with degrees who really believe in what they are doing.’

I ask if the line between the activism and his police work ever became blurred: ‘As the years went on, I did get a sort of Stockholm Syndrome, (where kidnap victims fall for their abductors). But I never lost sight of my work. I texted and informed on a daily basis. But I began to like the people I was with. I formed lasting friendships.

‘I had no other friends. I was estranged from my wife. My life was undercover. Of course I cared about them. But I didn’t go rogue. I was immersing myself in the culture to do my job, to be credible.

‘I reported everything. There were many instances of shoplifting. I was offered counterfeit money. I was offered drugs many, many times. Yes, I had a serious relationship but there was another undercover female operative there who definitely knew about it.

'If anyone had asked, I would have told them. But no one asked. That is the problem about this whole undercover police operation. There seem to be no guidelines, no rules. I was pretty much left to fend for myself.

‘I got great information to keep police a step ahead of the game. I also prevented violence. At a G8 protest in Germany the riot cops were planning to go in heavy, but I knew the crowd was planning to disperse. I texted that information in, and the charge was called off. That stopped bloodshed.’

The low point of his career came in 2006 when he was beaten up by five uniformed police officers on the perimeter fence of the Drax power station – who were only there because he tipped them off.

‘A young petite woman I knew as Cathleen began to crawl through a hole in the fence,’ he says. ‘Then I saw a uniformed police officer start to strike her very hard on her legs and lower back with his baton.

‘I tried to stand between her and him. I didn’t do anything aggressive. That’s when I got jumped on by five officers who kicked and beat me. They had batons and pummelled my head. They punched me. One officer repeatedly stamped on my back.’
Estranged: Mark Kennedy's Irish Catholic wife Edel

Kennedy went to hospital with a head wound, broken finger and a prolapsed disc. His attempt to claim for injuries incurred on duty was denied as it would blow his cover. ‘That p***ed me off,’ he says.

He says he was embraced by activists throughout Europe who he found ‘more militant and volatile’ than in Britain. In 2008 he was invited to a forest on the French-German border where groups from around Europe would share skills.

‘It was almost stereotypical. The Germans made very technical, clean and precise incendiary devices, the French were flamboyant and used Gauloises cigarettes to light the fuse and the Greeks were all for a big bang: they strapped a gas canister to a basic incendiary device.

‘When it was my turn I shared details of arm tubes – when protestors clip their arms into steel tubes to create a barrier. I think the others were a bit disappointed but British activism didn’t have the militancy or violence of other countries.’

Kennedy says he would travel abroad with fellow activists, and feed information back to his British superiors to share with other nations. ‘Activism has no borders,’ he says. ‘I would never go abroad without authority from my superiors and the local police.’

But Kennedy claims there were repeated cases of police mismanagement.

‘I was supposed to get psychological counselling every three months,’ he said.

‘I would go two years without seeing the shrink. Initially meetings were regular. Then it became a farce. The office was so greedy for intelligence that they didn’t set up the meetings. They went by the wayside. I’m sure that’s the same for other undercover officers too.’

He adds: ‘Plans were constantly changed at the last minute. It wore on my nerves. They just assumed I could change everything on the whim of the officer in control. It wasn’t that easy.

‘I became increasingly paranoid. I was stressed out. I was fried. I never stopped being a cop, but I was pushed to the limit of what I could endure.’

Kennedy says his cover was blown when a meeting planning action at the Ratcliffe-on-Soar power station in Nottinghamshire was raided in April 2009.

‘When it all kicked off, 114 people were arrested, including me. No further action was taken against most of them, but 27 people, including me, were to be charged with conspiracy offences. I kept being told by my cover officer, “Don’t worry, they are going to drop it,” but they never did.’

Meanwhile, Kennedy continued to work undercover, including the climate camp in London in the summer of 2009, but the Ratcliffe-on-Soar arrest was still hanging over him.

‘I was interviewed twice by detectives,’ he says. ‘The second time, I was the only one without a solicitor, which was hugely weird.

‘You can’t lie to a lawyer. So I couldn’t have a lawyer. I was a few days from being charged, then the case was dropped. That pretty much blew my cover.’

He says he was told his eight-year undercover operation was over in a curt text message in September 2009.

‘I’d just had a huge 40th birthday party for me and ten others born in 1969 called the 69ers party at a farm in Herefordshire. I was told, “At least you had a great party and now it’s over.” Then the text came telling me I had three weeks.

‘I had to clear out of the house where I was living in Nottingham. I was made to hand over my Mark Stone passport, driving licence and credit cards. I was then driven to Ireland.

‘I didn’t say goodbye properly. I’d told the activists I was feeling burned out and was going to visit my brother in America “indefinitely”. It was ridiculous, everyone knows you can’t just go to America like that.

‘I was given a mailing address in the US which was a PO Box. I had Facebook accounts and email accounts but wasn’t allowed to use those. I had lots of leave to take, which I spent with my children in Ireland.

‘I had an interview with the Met’s personnel department in December 2009 and was told I wasn’t qualified.

‘I was in there less than 20 minutes. I came out hugely depressed. I’d done 20 years’ service and they were basically telling me I was only qualified to drive a panda car. So long undercover had left me totally inequipped to go back into mainstream policing. I couldn’t even use the radios or computers.

‘Then in January last year I was approached by a private company which advises corporations about activist trends. It’s run by Rod Leeming, a former Special Branch officer. I’d never met him before.’

The company, Global Open, is based in London and has advised major corporations including E.On – which runs the Ratcliffe-on-Soar power plant – and BAE.

Kennedy handed in his resignation from the police in January, ending work in March.

He then went back to Nottingham and contacted his old friends: ‘People were worried about me. I wanted to withdraw myself in a more believable way. I didn’t tell police I was going back.’

He resumed his relationship with his girlfriend while he worked for Global Open as a consultant – although he says he did not operate undercover for the company.

‘I was using the time to try to extract myself in a proper way,’ he says.

‘I did a course on servicing wind turbines. I made the excuse that I was going to go off around the world doing that. That would have been a far more acceptable exit than just vanishing.’

In July he and his girlfriend went on holiday to Europe – when she discovered his passport in the name of Mark Kennedy. ‘She told the other activists about it and they started investigating me.

‘When I went to visit my kids in October I got a menacing phone call saying they knew I was a cop.

‘I knew then that it was over.’


‘My taped evidence was suppressed’



Tape recordings allegedly suppressed by the police would have destroyed the prosecution’s case against six activists accused of trying to shut down one of Britain’s biggest power stations, Mark Kennedy believes.

The Crown Prosecution Service said last week it was abandoning the £1 million prosecution against the environmental activists after fresh information had been made available.

It subsequently emerged that the Independent Police Complaints Commission is investigating allegations that Nottinghamshire Police failed to disclose all its evidence to the CPS including, it is claimed, several tape recordings.

Now Mr Kennedy has told The Mail on Sunday that he was the officer who made the recordings.
And he says the tapes throw considerable doubt on whether the activists accused of attempting to close Ratcliffe-on-Soar coal station, in Nottinghamshire, should have been charged with conspiracy to commit aggravated trespass.

Mr Kennedy said: ‘The truth of the matter is that the tapes clearly show that the six defendants who were due to go on trial had not joined any conspiracy.

‘The tapes I made meant that the police couldn’t prove their case. I have no idea why the police with held these tapes.’

On April 12 and 13 last year, Mr Kennedy says he attended two meetings, with 114 other protesters, at Iona School in Nottingham, to discuss shutting down the power plant.

Mr Kennedy said that before these meetings he was instructed to wear a recording device, the first time he had been ordered to do so by his handlers. Twenty activists were subsequently arrested at the school and found guilty of conspiracy to commit aggravated trespass at a trial in December.

Six others were to go on trial this week on the same charges, until the case was dropped.

However Mr Kennedy believes that his recordings prove that the activists should not have been charged.

The charge of conspiracy to commit aggravated trespass, according to a senior barrister, requires an agreement among all those charged with the conspiracy to break in to the coal station.
Criminal barrister Michael Wolkind QC said: ‘It is straightforward. There has to be evidence of agreement.’

But Mr Kennedy, who subsequently flirted with providing assistance to the activists’ defence team, said there was no agreement and his recordings prove it.

‘The meetings were over two days and I recorded both days. The first recording didn’t record because the office had failed to charge the battery on the device.

‘The second day, the battery was charged and I recorded Spencer Cook, one of the defendants who was convicted in the first trial last December, holding a briefing in front of 114 people detailing what the action was about.

‘It was to shut down the power station in a safe way.

‘During that briefing Spencer was very clear that this was a volunteer-only operation and it was down to the individual to decide what role they wanted to play. There was no pressure on anybody to take part in anything they didn’t want to do.

‘I just assumed that the police would naturally put my tapes into evidence. Clearly I was wrong.’

Mike Schwarz, the lawyer representing the activists involved, said Mr Kennedy’s evidence cast doubt on the legality of the whole police operation.

He said: ‘What Kennedy says now and what he confirmed to his handlers at the time casts serious doubt on the safety of the conviction of the 20 activists and the compliance of the police with their legal obligations.’

Under the Criminal Procedure and Investigations Act of 1996, the police have a duty to make the CPS and the defence team aware of evidence they have collected.

Mr Kennedy’s identity could have been protected by the judge granting a Public Interest Immunity order should the tapes have been heard in court.

Nottinghamshire Police declined to comment tonight.