Skip to main content

Former spycop who ‘groomed’ young activist standing for re-election as Tory councillor

A SPYCOP accused of deceiving a 19-year-old woman into a sexual relationship while he was working undercover is seeking re-election next month as a Tory councillor. 

Andy Coles has remained a Conservative member of Peterborough City Council despite being exposed in 2017 as a former officer in the Special Demonstration Squad (SDS), a secret unit of the Metropolitan Police accused of serial abuses over decades. 

While infiltrating animal rights groups in the 1990s, Mr Coles is said to have started an intimate relationship with a campaigner that lasted more than a year. 

Until four years ago, the woman, identified only as Jessica, believed that her first boyfriend had been a 24-year-old activist, but in reality he was a married police officer aged 32. 

The shocking revelation led to Mr Coles resigning as Cambridgeshire’s Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner, but he has refused to step down from Peterborough council and is now hoping to win re-election on May 6. 

Jessica is determined to thwart his election bid, launching her own campaign to inform voters of the former spycop’s past. 

Speaking to the Morning Star, she said that she and her fellow campaigners in the Sack Andy Coles group have distributed about 40,000 leaflets in his ward.

“Andy Coles — abuser of women, violator of human rights, lying to Peterborough,” read the leaflets dropped through letterboxes.

“It’s basically telling people what happened,” she told the Star. “People should know who they are voting for or not.” 

She argues that the ex-police officer is not fit to hold public office.

Jessica believes that she was groomed into a sexual relationship by Mr Coles. Though she was legally an adult at the time, she says she was a “very young 19,” naive and inexperienced, and suspects that Mr Coles targeted her for that reason. 

As a result, Jessica finds his current position highly distressing.  

“He was in a position of power over me when he was undercover, being that much older as well,” she explained. “I don’t want him to be in a position of authority where he can hold that power over someone again.”

After discovering his true identity, Jessica said she went through a process of “shame, embarrassment and self-loathing.” She also descended into paranoia, fearing that she was going to be killed. 

“I imagined I would be pushed in front of a Tube train,” she said. “You just don’t know what’s real and what’s not. The most ridiculous thing has happened, so anything is possible.”

Over four years, Jessica has led a campaign demanding that Mr Coles step down from the council and other positions of responsibility. 

Once, while giving out leaflets in Peterborough, she was confronted by him. 

“He told us what we were doing was illegal and that we would go to jail,” she said, adding that he had aggressively grabbed the leaflets from her and another campaigner and filmed them. 

“It was horrible. It was the first time I’d seen him since 1993.”

On the doorstep, she says she receives a mixed reaction. “I’ve come across people who’ve asked to take leaflets to give them to people out themselves,” she said, but others accuse her of being a liar. 

Since being unmasked, Mr Coles has repeatedly denied having a relationship with Jessica and dismissed her account as “lurid.”  

This is despite a Met Police investigation upholding her criminal complaint last year, finding evidence that he did initiate a relationship with her.

But the outcome of the investigation seems to have had little impact on Mr Coles’s political career. Recently, he was appointed vice-chairman of Peterborough’s children and education scrutiny committee.

Jessica is angry with the council and the Conservative Party, which has the power to withdraw his candidacy, for allowing him to cling onto his seat. 

“They are enabling him … on their part because they are giving him this air of respectability that he just shouldn’t have.

“It feels once again that it’s a man’s world and that there’s no accountability.

In a statement, Peterborough City Council said it lacks the legal power to remove a councillor or prevent the person from standing for election, adding that “this is a matter for the electoral process.”

Police Spies Out of Lives, a campaign support group for women deceived into relationships, said there is “ample” evidence to suggest that Mr Coles had instigated a sexual relationship with Jessica. 

The group told the Star it was “confusing” that he is still able to represent the Tory Party. 

“We have every hope that the voters of Fletton and Woodston will soon elect a councillor who has not been associated with the abuse of human rights and whose public assurances are not in question.”

Mr Coles is one of more than 100 officers being investigated by an ongoing public inquiry into undercover policing of protest groups dating back to 1968.

During his four-year deployment, he stole the identity of a deceased child to build his fake profile.

He later wrote the SDS’s Tradecraft Manual, a guide on how new recruits should go about hijacking the identities of dead children and gaining the trust of campaigners. 

Mr Coles and the Conservative Party did not respond to requests for comment.

OWNED BY OUR READERS

We're a reader-owned co-operative, which means you can become part of the paper too by buying shares in the People’s Press Printing Society.

Become a supporter

Fighting fund

You've Raised:£ 5,397
We need:£ 12,603
14 Days remaining
Donate today