A Royal Navy submarine and a bugged Scottish farmhouse were used to try to catch the killers of Stephen Lawrence, it has emerged.
The elaborate surveillance operation was set up in 1999 in an attempt to gather evidence from five men accused of the teenager’s murder, as they enjoyed a two-week break after giving a high-profile TV interview.
Brothers Jamie and Neil Acourt, David Norris, Gary Dobson, and Luke Knight were put up in the holiday home after appearing on Tonight With Trevor Macdonald.
But the Daily Mail yesterday revealed how, before they arrived, police had planted hidden microphones in the house, in the Perthshire village of Forteviot. The submarine, which took up position off Dundee, sent the signal back to London.
The operation was set up by the Metropolitan Police, which had been heavily criticised for failing to catch the 18-year-old’s killers. One source said: “It was pure James Bond. It was run like a big anti-terror operation. The team had every piece of kit you had ever heard of.”
Stephen’s father Neville Lawrence last week expressed his surprise at the plan saying: “My God! A submarine? That’s amazing. I thought I’d heard it all, but this is the first time I’ve heard anything about this.
“I suppose it proves that by then, the Met were at least trying everything they could.”
Unfortunately it didn’t produce the evidence the police needed but two of the group, Dobson, now 45, and Norris, 43, were convicted of Stephen’s murder 12 years later, and are now serving life sentences.
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