Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 23 September 2014

Haddock allowed to 'poison children'

O'Connor blasts Special Branch over drug-dealing claim

A CO Antrim Mayor today denounced Special Branch for letting informer Mark Haddock deal drugs and "poison kids" in his borough.

Larne Alderman Danny O'Connor hit out after the Police Ombudsman criticised RUC inaction over Haddock's involvement in the drugs trade in the town.

Nuala O'Loan discovered that officers received 70 intelligence reports linking Haddock to 17 separate instances of drug dealing in an area spanning north Belfast and east Antrim.

Haddock actually admitted his involvement to police on two occasions and also informed on other dealers.

The Ombudsman concluded that his motivation was to "maintain control" of the illicit trade himself.

Mr O'Connor said: "A line has to be drawn in the sand and when someone crosses that line they should feel the full weight of the law.

"It is not for Special Branch officers to take that decision, it should be made by the prosecuting authorities."

The SDLP mayor added: "They can't turn round and say it is okay to poison kids in Larne if he is supplying information on other dealers.

"The reality is that the same amount of drugs were still being supplied.

"To allow him to act with immunity and indeed impunity was grossly wrong."

Mrs O'Loan discovered that Haddock told his RUC handlers in 1994 that the north Belfast UVF had taken control of drug-dealing at a Larne hotel.

The hotel was not named in the report, but is thought to be the Kilwaughter House Hotel.

Haddock informed Special Branch in August 1994 that the UVF was allowing local dealers to sell drugs on their behalf at the hotel.

Mrs O'Loan found no evidence that this information was ever passed to the police's Drugs Squad by Special Branch.

Despite the intelligence reports linking him to dealing, he was only ever prosecuted for drug possession.

Mrs O'Loan said the "vast majority" of Special Branch officers interviewed by her investigators denied knowledge of the reports on Haddock's dealing.

"The Police Ombudsman does not accept this explanation, nor does she accept that the officers were ignorant of Informant 1's drug dealing," she concluded.

The report also accused Special Branch of "collusion" on the grounds that it had "deliberately disregarded most of Informant 1's involvement in drug-dealing from 1994 onwards".

And it stated: "Police documentation records that monies from drug operations formed a major part of the revenues of loyalist paramilitaries during this period.

"The failure by police to deal with this aspect of their criminality meant that this source of funding continued."

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