Pay Out to Cop wrongly linked to London Crime Family Exposes Scotland Yard Corruption Shambles
The Metropolitan police has paid damages to a former detective accused of working corruptly for a notorious organised crime family known as ‘The A Team’.
Nigel Waldron was named in the highly sensitive Operation Tiberius report, which was produced by the Met’s anti-corruption squad.
Marked ‘SECRET’, the report claimed that over sixty officers, from constables to superintendents, were in the pocket of London-based organised crime groups during the eighties and nineties at the peak of the war on drugs.
Waldron was said to be working for the dominant Adams crime family, whose reputation was such that criminals were ‘taxed’ just for using their name.
Tiberius was written in 2002 and concluded that the UK’s biggest police force had been penetrated “at will” by eight organised crime groups involved in murder, drug trafficking, fraud, robbery and money laundering.
Based on raw police intelligence from informants and surveillance operations, Tiberius branded officers as “corrupt” and identified the different organised crime groups they supposedly worked for while serving or retired.
Waldron is understood to be the only detective named in the Tiberius report to sue the Met.
The Police Federation backed his damages claim and discovered that the vast majority of those named in the report were never investigated.
Nor was this the group of suspect officers given an opportunity to respond to the allegations. Instead, they were allowed to retire with full pensions and in some cases, such as Waldron, with an exemplary service certificate.
This latest twist in the saga of the Tiberius report emerges just days after a police watchdog found that the Met’s anti-corruption squad was “not fit for purpose”.
The Met paid Waldron a five-figure sum to settle his claim just before he died of cancer aged 68 this month.
During a death bed interview with The Upsetter, Waldron insisted he’d worked all his police career against organised crime and had provided information linking the Adams crime group to a double murder in Epping Forest.
Documents show Waldron began legal proceedings against the Met for defamation and breach of confidence as soon as he was told about the Tiberius report, which had been leaked and posted on the internet in 2019.
“Personally, it’s destroyed me really in a lot of ways because I’d never never have expected that. I’ve been commended. I was well respected. I’ve had a long time to think about this shit report. There’s bound to be jealously … and I think there’s people around who just wanted to do me harm because of my standing …I’ve done all I can to clear my name … the Met dragged it out.”
The Met’s financial settlement with Waldron now opens the gates for other former officers to sue for compensation.
As The Upsetter exclusively revealed last year, a police informant whose identity was exposed in the leaked Tiberius report is also suing the force.
Both legal claims put pressure on the Met to identify which parts of the Tiberius report they stand by and explain the failure to act and the implications for potential miscarriages of justice.
The Met refused to answer specific questions. A spokesman said:
“We are not prepared to discuss publicly the details of Operation Tiberius written in 2002. By its very nature it is a secret document that details the threat of corruption to police employees posed by serious and organised criminals. The passage of time does nothing to reduce the very real risks to anti-corruption tactics, intelligence sources or current operations.”
In 1994, the Met set up a secret squad to bring down the dominant organised crime group in London.
Operation Trinity was so named because it combined the skills and technical capabilities of the Met, Customs and MI5 in targeting the London Irish Adams brothers from Islington.
The A Team counted on the financial acumen of north London businessman, Solly Nahome, a Burmese Jew who operated from a jewellers in Hatton Garden called Pussy Galore.
MI5 bugged the office in Greville Street between 1995 and 1996. A cast of underworld characters passed through Pussy’s doors to chat with Nahome and the Adams brothers.
One larger than life visitor was Derek Keene, who had long retired from the Met and was working as a debt collector.
Tiberius had this to say about Keene:
During bugged conversations at Pussy Galore, Keene discussed debt collecting and a licence the A Team needed for one of its Soho clubs.
More intriguing was a conversation with the oldest Adams brother on 16 November 1995.
Terry Adams is said to have offered to “take out” the supplier of an ecstasy tablet that killed Leah Betts, the Essex teenager and daughter of a police officer, whose life support machine was turned off that day.
Three weeks later, three drug dealers were murdered while parked in a country lane near the Essex village of Rettendon.
The two men later convicted of the triple murder continue to protest their innocence. Their lawyers are relying on non-disclosure of Terry Adams’ comment in a submission currently under consideration by the Criminal Cases Review Commission, the miscarriages of justice watchdog.
The Tiberius report relies on these and other bugged conversations at Pussy Galore between September 1995 and September 1996 to assert that Keene was the Adams crime family’s conduit to corrupt cops.
Keene is recorded discussing plans to approach three serving detectives. The Adams brothers wanted information and Keene appeared willing to tap police contacts he knew through playing football.
The Tiberius report identified Nigel Waldron as one of three detectives “corruptly assisting the [Adams] family by conducting checks for them.”
Waldron vehemently denied this on his death bed and said he was always suspicious of Keene.:
“Although he was part of our football team I didn’t have anything to do with him because I’m an honest fella. I don’t want people around me who are even suspicious, and he had his own way. He was like a debt collector. Let me put it this way, I was suspicious of him, of course I was, but it weren’t my business. I had nothing to do with him. I didn’t trust him … At no time whatsoever did I ever discuss information concerning the Adams family with Keene and he certainly never asked me about them.”
Gloucestershire born Waldron said he always wanted to be a career detective and moved to London to join the Met in 1972.
Waldron served on the Flying Squad covering east London in the late 1980s. He was then was posted to the Murder and Drug squads at Arbor Square before being selected as a detective sergeant to join the Regional Crime Squad office at Barkingside in 1992.
Waldron happily accepted the description of one cop friend that he was “job pissed” – a detective who puts police work before his marriage.
“I’m proud of my service record. Let me put it this way. Irene and I didn’t have children. We were married 48 years and I was always at work. People only needed to pick up the phone and I was straight out. I didn’t say to Irene, ‘Is it alright if I go to work.’ I went to work.”
However, in September 1996, Waldron said he suffered a severe back injury while off duty that ended his police career. He went on sick leave until January 1998 then returned part time and was eventually medically retired in July 1998.
The dates are significant because the Tiberius report suggests that in March 1996 Keene was secretly recorded at Pussy Galore talking to Nahome about getting information from his police contact ‘Nigel’.
Waldron “strongly refutes” that this was a reference to him and believed Keene was trying to impress the Adams crime group with “bravado and lies.”
Waldron pointed out that though he never worked on the Adams crime family he had given information about them on two occasions.
He said he passed intelligence to a detective friend who was working on the A Team. The Upsetter spoke to the now retired detective, who asked not to be named. He could not recall receiving information from Waldron about the Adams crime group, but vouched for his honesty.
“The whole of that [Trinity] enquiry that I was doing with lots of other people there was never any mention of Nigel ever ever being involved anywhere, corruptly or not corruptly. Nigel Waldron’s name never appeared on anything to do with that enquiry I was working on and I don’t think it would have been mentioned in any other persons routine and if he had of been I think I would have known that.”
Waldron said he also passed information linking the A Team to the double murder in December 1989 of pub stocktaker Terry Gooderham and his girlfriend Maxine Arnold, who were shot in Epping Forest
Waldron said the information came from a “good informant” in Hatton Garden who knew Solly Nahome. It was of such interest that Gavin Robertson, a senior organised crime detective in east London, visited him at home to discuss the information.
In a further twist, Roberston is named in the Tiberius report as working for the Hunt crime group from Canning Town, who were also suspected of involvement in the double murder.
Robertson did not respond to an approach from The Upsetter, but has previously denied the corruption allegations in the Tiberius report and said the Met never approached him before or since he retired in 1997 to run a private investigation business.
The Tiberius report also links Derek Keene to the Hunt crime group. Secret recordings from a bug inside an Essex car showroom captured Keene offering to use police contacts to check if crime boss David Hunt was being looked at.
On his arrest for perverting the course of justice, Keene admitted taking payment from a Hunt associate but said he never followed through and spoke to any police contacts.
Keene, however, was never convicted of any offences related to his comments on the Pussy Galore bug or the car showroom one. He did not respond to requests for an interview.
The intelligence about suspected police corruption that emerged from bugs inside the Adams and Hunt organised crime groups was fed into a secret intelligence gathering operation codenamed Othona.
The man running that operation, detective inspector Dave Woods, had pretended to retire from the Met with cancer when he was really part of a Ghost Squad that since 1994 had been compiling intelligence on suspect cops.
Waldron said he knew Woods from their police days working in Hackney. He had also previously worked under the two Ghost Squad bosses, John Grieve and Roy Clark, who was also in charge of operation to bring down the Adams crime group.
If the intelligence on Waldron and others was so compelling why were they allowed to remain in the police and on the pubic purse and then retire with full pensions?
Waldron felt he should have been interviewed rather than have the intelligence left to linger in secret files known only to a few.
“If you want to pull them dots together get the geezer in and give him a chance of interview and then speak. But they never gave me an opportunity. I was never questioned, served a [discipline notice] or suspended … The first time I was aware of the false allegations that I was corrupt was when I read the leaked Operation Tiberius report on the internet in late February 2019.”
In October 2019, Waldron’s lawyer sent the Met a letter of claim over the “defamatory and false” allegations in the Tiberius report.
The following month, a representative of the Police Federation, which was backing Waldron, met with Commander Steve Wagstaff, the boss of the anti-corruption squad.
A note by the Federation rep of the meeting on 1 November 2019 recorded this explanation about the Met’s approach to the Tiberius report:
“We spoke freely regarding what had taken place and in summary the named parties fell within three groups. Corrupt officers [convicted]; Corrupt officers [dismissed through misconduct matters]; Named officers [not investigated with no finding/sanctions]. Nigel clearly falls within the latter section.”
The Met declined to respond to The Upsetter when asked why former and serving police officer against whom it claimed to have proof of corruption were never pursued criminally.
The note of the Wagstaff meeting also offers this appraisal of the Tiberius report by the anti-corruption chief:
“What was stated was that the opinion of the document was very poor and contained little to no evidence at all but was completed during a period when the DPS [anti-corruption command] was fighting to maintain staff after pull from SO15 [anti-terrorism branch] after several terrorism related incidents.”
The Tiberius report was written between October 2001 and March 2002 by intelligence officers answerable to Andy Hayman, then commander of the Met’s anti-corruption squad, aka The Untouchables.
The report was meant for a small circle of the most senior officers and attempted to capitalise on the one solid corruption prosecution Hayman’s Untouchables had secured.
This was the case of detective constable Martin Morgan who pleaded guilty after he was caught trying to kidnap a money launderer who had stolen the profits of a drug gang the detective was protecting.
The Tiberius report is also seen by some police insiders as an attempt to justify the few corruption prosecutions after spending tens of millions of pounds between 1993 and 2001 first on the Ghost Squad and then on the formation of the Untouchables in 1998.
That year, the Met told parliament that the intelligence picture developed by the Ghost Squad showed there was up to 250 seriously corrupt cops in the UK’s biggest police force.
By 2001, the Met had struggled to convict 10% of that figure and some of those convictions were heading to the Appeal Court because of unlawful conduct by the anti-corruption squad when trying to get results.
In this context, the Tiberius report, with its reference to over 60 corrupt serving and retired officers, was useful for internal purposes.
But when the report was leaked, the Met faced an onslaught from politicians, journalists and lawyers asking where were the prosecutions.
In January 2014, a journalist published an exclusive story in The Independent based on a leaked copy of the Tiberius report.
Detective chief superintendent Dave Cook was a prime suspect for the leak. Upsetter regulars will be well aware he is the senior detective whose corruption undermined the Daniel Morgan murder trial in 2011.
The following year, the police watchdog investigated Cook for leaking thousands of documents about the Morgan murder and police corruption.
A copy of the Tiberius report was found during a search of Cook’s home in November 2014 and his emails showed that at roughly the same time as The Independent article appeared, Cook had sent a page of the Tiberius report to a Sun journalist.
Under parliamentary pressure to explain itself, the Met did little more than accept the Tiberius report was based on 3000 crates of Operation Othona intelligence. Cook was never prosecuted for leaking.
Five years later, in January 2019, Irish-based blogger Ciaran Goggins, separately got hold of an unredacted copy of the Tiberius report and posted it online. He told The Upsetter:
“I was never directly contacted by the police to take it down, but heard that they were furious. [My] motives? Diverse. One is to put everything in the open. Another was to discomfort the police. They are reticent in paying out compensation, massive bad publicity focuses the mind wonderfully. The publication [of Tiberius] caused quite some damage.”
Throughout the pandemic, the Met provided no meaningful response to Nigel Waldron’s damages claim. He suspected the force was waiting to see how Cook was treated by the Daniel Morgan Independent Panel, whose report was published in June 2021.
The Panel eviscerated Cook for his corrupt handling of the murder and criticised the Met’s failure to prosecute him for leaking documents.
Home Secretary, Priri Patel, asked Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary to examine the DMIP’s recommendations. The Inspectorate reported that the Met’s anti-corruption squad was “not fit for purpose.”
In February 2022, the Met agreed to pay Waldron £10,000 damages and his legal costs in full settlement of his claim. The retired detective was lucky to still be alive. His cancer was by now terminal and he had days to live.
Waldron and his wife felt they were owed an apology by Met Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick, who had recently resigned after losing the confidence of the London mayor over a variety of race, sex and corruption scandals including her handling of the Morgan and Sarah Everard murders.
Martin Woods, a retired Met detective and friend of Waldron, wrote to Dick asking her to “do the right thing”. His letter on 10 March said:
“Please apologise to DS Waldron and through him to his wife. As an honest, hard-working police officer he wasn’t bought by criminals and he cannot be bought by others. This extends to the payment from the Metropolitan police.”
Woods is a leading expert on money laundering and bravely blew the whistle on an American bank that was laundering Mexican drug cartel money. The Met’s response to the Tiberius report troubles him. He told The Upsetter:
“Corruption is destructive to police morale and public confidence. Both the public and police must be protected from the immense harm caused by corrupt officers. Equally, honest, hardworking police officers should be protected when the subject of false allegations, in particular allegations of corruption. It is incredibly difficult to understand why the Met failed to investigate these allegations. A corrupt police officer is a dangerous person who can put lives at risk. The scandal of the Tiberius report is that any officer serving or retired, with the wrong first name could find themselves the subject of a false allegation.”
Nigel Waldron died on 17 March having received no reply from the commissioner. His widow Irene said:
“I am angry at the Tiberius Report and the people who wrote it. It had a severe negative impact and I believe led to Nigel’s decline in health. He was a good, honest, hard working police officer really hurt by the report and I think he’s owed an apology.”
Dame Cressida still has not responded and the Met refuses to say if she will before stepping down next month with her own pay out, a gold-plated pension and seat in the House of Lords – proving once more, that for senior Met cops nothing quite succeeds like failure.
And so it goes.