Man says PSNI tried to recruit him as informer

Lynn Fleming (SF) who was re-elected for the Waterside Ward to Derry City Council. PIcture Martin McKeown. 9.5.11
Lynn Fleming (SF) who was re-elected for the Waterside Ward to Derry City Council. PIcture Martin McKeown. 9.5.11

A former mayor of Derry met the PSNI over an incident where a local man claimed the PSNI tried to recruit him as an informer.

Sinn Féin councillor Lynn Fleming met senior PSNI officers in the city to discuss the case after the man claimed a police officer approached him in the Buncrana Road area on Wednesday.

The man, who did not wish to be named, said the police officer said it would be “financially beneficial” for him to work for the PSNI.

“I was walking to the shop on Wednesday morning and as I was walking along the Buncrana Road a silver Nissan Micra car stopped alongside me and the driver got out.

“He came up to me and held his hand out for me to shake and then said he was looking for directions to Whitehouse Park.

“I told him the way to go to get there and then he called me by my first name which surprised me because I had never seen him before and did not know who he was.

“He asked me if I was looking for work and I told him it would depend what type of work it is and he just came out and said that it was working for the police.

“I immediately told him I wasn’t interested and he said I must be struggling with money and said it would be financially beneficial for me to help out the police.

“I told him that I wasn’t interested and wouldn’t know anything and didn’t want to end up in the back roads with a bullet in my head,” he said.

The man also said he was held on remand for a time in the 90s but insisted he is not involved in any political activity now.

He also said he was approached in similar circumstances in 1995 on Craigavon Bridge.

“I was pretty shaken by the whole thing and then when I was walking back to my house I saw the car driving up my street slowly and the man was looking at me. There was a woman in the passenger side and she looked to have a big folder on her knee.

“I am now worried about why they were looking at my house and what could be in that folder,” he explained

The man also said he has been worried since the encounter on Wednesday.

“I have been afraid to leave the house or open the door since then.

“I’m worried if I go outside it will happen again or that they will come to my house.

“I’m also worried that someone may have seen me talking to him and giving him directions and got the wrong idea,” he said.

He added that he decided to go public to appeal to the police to leave him alone.

“I want this to stop because I’m worried about where it could go. That is why I wanted to let people know what happened,” he said.

He also said he intends to raise the issue with his solicitor and the Police Ombudsman.

Colr. Fleming said she raised the incident with the PSNI.

“We raised this case at a meeting in Derry with the PSNI at a senior level and told them what went on here was wrong and that this individual wants to be left alone and free from harassment.

“I would urge anyone approached in a similar situation to go to a solicitor straight away and report the matter to the Police Ombudsman,” she said.