How Andy Coles infiltrated Animal Liberation groups; activists respond

activist, author, former political prisoner

Camille Marino
March 22, 2018

Earlier this week, it was confirmed that Andy Coles, a Tory member of Parliament, infiltrated Animal Liberation groups in the UK in the early 1990s. Activists are now coming forward to discuss their experiences with Coles. Their statements suggest red flags of which we all should take note.

The Canary reports that Coles was a little odd but was never suspected of being a spy:

“We used to call him ‘Andy’, our fingers making inverted commas in the air. We didn’t trust him – but we didn’t know he was a spycop.

“Right from the start though, we thought he was a bit odd. He said he was heavily involved in animal rights, but if pressed for detail would become very mysterious. He seemed to want us to believe that he was in so deep he couldn’t reveal what he was up to.

“I didn’t know much about animal rights activists but I assumed that, if you were one, you wouldn’t go around telling strangers about it. But none of us suspected he was a police officer. He hung around for six months or so, came to several protests with us, then disappeared.”

Grandiosity and hubris seem to underlay a lot of claims made in our community. But there’s a line between laughable self-promotion and an activist being unwilling to substantiate their claims. It appears that Coles was creating an illusion of being an underground operative, likely in an effort to connect with like-minded actors and gain their trust. Given that he disappeared from one circle after six months, I would hope he wasn’t able to penetrate that group too deeply.


Of particular interest is the information reported about Tradecraft, a manual written by Andy Coles to assist undercover cops develop a believable identity and blend in with activists. It covers areas including:

  • how to find the name of a dead child to use as a cover name;
  • how to make a convincing cover story;
  • how to choose “a credible duff” (lodgings);
  • how to make contact with your target group;
  • how to leave [pdf, p48] without arousing suspicion.

It tells undercover officers not to appear to know too much about police procedures “and remember to get some facts spectacularly wrong so you can be corrected!

Sexual Harassment & Exploitation

Andy Coles is said to have sexually accosted a number of women in these communities, one activist noting:

“Very soon after arriving he made a pass at me with no preamble. As I recall he did not say anything at all but just lunged at me and tried to kiss me. I pushed him off and he persisted for a while (several minutes), following me around the living room, while I avoided contact and repeatedly asked him to stop.”

And his utter contempt and disrespect for these women is evident in his statements about said encounters:

“Being a little untidy, smelly and rumpled is a natural state for many of the people in our target groups.”

“The crusty lifestyle in particular is really unpleasant. You will be expected to eat food you wouldn’t put in your own bin, drink tea from cups which appear to have grown their own beards and sit on furniture which is alive. The squatters are notorious for taking people for all they can get and if you appear to be prepared to help them in a move or to drive them somewhere they will use you until you drop. Worst of all, they smell disgusting in the summer months!”

Cole’s further moral degeneracy is apparent in how he describes a sexual encounter with a 19-year old activist called “Jessica.” The infiltrator had no qualms about engaging in sexual relationships with activists in order to lend credence to his role, despite how traumatized it would leave his victim:

“If you have no other option but to become involved with a weary, you should try to have fleeting, disastrous relationships with individuals who are not important to your sources of information.”

Jessica, on the other hand, is left with the legacy of having been preyed upon, abused, and sexually-exploited while her abuser collects accolades for the devastation he wrought:

“I can’t get a moment’s peace from any of this. It’s twisting the knife that he remains in a trusted public position, as though what he did to me means nothing.”

In The Essential Daily Briefing, Jessica describes Andy Coles as a “dirty old man.”



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