Marco Jacobs (alias)
‘Mark Jacobs’, more commonly known as ‘Marco Jacobs’, was the assumed identity of an undercover police officer who infiltrated political groups within the activist and anarchist movement. He was active between 2004 and 2009, at first in the Brighton area of southern England, and then Cardiff, south Wales.
It is believed that he worked for the National Public Order Intelligence Unit, and that after the end of his deployment, he was subsequently deployed undercover elsewhere, until publicity surrounding this and other spy operations caused him to be “moved for security reasons’ after his ‘identity was compromised’.
Both South Wales and the Metropolitan police services maintained a 'Neither Confirm Nor Deny' defence of all aspects of Jacobs' deployment. Three people from Cardiff Anarchist Network spied upon by Jacobs brought their case to the High Court claiming damages for what they had gone through. In March 2015 the Metropolitan police conceded they would not contest the assertion that Jacobs was an officer, and if damages are awarded then the police will be liable to pay. On 10 November 2016, it was announced by the Pitchford Inquiry into Undercover Policing that core participant N519 was the police officer who had used the Marco Jacobs alias. The inquiry stated it had received confirmation that 'no restriction is sought over the undercover identity', but an anonymity application was expected regarding their real identity.
Jacobs' current whereabouts and status are unknown. Likewise nothing is known of his true identity or history as a police officer.
N.B. This is a preliminary profile and we are interested in learning more about his activities. If you think you have anything to add or to correct, get in touch (PGP key available on request).
- 1 Overview of undercover tour as ‘Marco Jacobs’
- 2 Personal details
- 3 Activist modus operandi, undercover tradecraft
- 4 Exposure and post-exposure issues
- 5 Gallery
- 6 Resources
- 7 In the Undercover Policing Inquiry
- 8 Notes
Overview of undercover tour as ‘Marco Jacobs’
The man known as ‘Marco Jacobs’ first appeared in Brighton in late 2004, and quickly made attempts to inveigle his way into political groups, primarily those of a direct action-oriented anarchist or anti-authoritarian nature. He attended local protests, travelled to demonstrations in other parts of the country, took part in meetings, and socialised with activists.
However, it appears that he was never entirely trusted within the Brighton activist community, and so in 2005 he moved to Cardiff, where he repeated the same repertoire of behaviour, but, it seems, more successfully. Cardiff activist Tom Fowler, pointed at the different character of that city's activist scene compared to Brighton's: ‘he was a normal working class bloke and the activist scene in Brighton was maybe not somewhere ‘Jacobs’ was fitting in.’ Fellow Cardiff Anarchist Network (CAN) activist ‘Verity Smith’ concurred with this view in her account:
- He moved to Cardiff claiming that he’d come from Brighton but that (activists in) Brighton had been hostile to him, had not accepted him and that he’d felt excluded. He said he’d come to Cardiff because we were more open and more tolerant of new people becoming involved and that there was a lot going on in Cardiff in terms of activism and that he wanted to be where things were happening.
Whilst in Cardiff he became more involved in international protest organising networks, and developed close, sometimes sexual, relationships with a number of activists.
Though suspicions about him grew in his absence, nothing more was heard about him until January 2011, when the furore over the Mark Kennedy affair led to him being acknowledged as a police spy shortly after the public exposure of ‘Lynn Watson’.
For a better overview, a timeline is in the making. The current version collates previously published (though sometimes as yet uncorroborated) claims and privately confirmed details of what ‘Jacobs’ did, and where and when he did it. We still need to talk to people who knew Jacobs, if you have any details to add about his activites and behaviour, do get in touch.
- See main article: Marco Jacobs Undercover Timeline
‘Jacobs’ was a heavy-set, hirsute man with a Midlands accent with a wry (or sometimes dark) sense of humour, and a propensity for drinking large volumes of alcohol. It appears he presented somewhat different versions of himself depending on the audience, with a noticeable change in his behaviour and appearance by the time he had moved from Brighton to Cardiff.
Several accounts note him to be a physically large man (‘carrying a little too much weight around the middle’), typically describing him as approximately fifteen stone (210 pounds, or 95kg), and about six foot (183cm) in height.
His hair - brown and slightly curly - varied in length and style over the years, from a shaggy mullet to a neater ponytail. He tended to be unshaven, sometimes wearing a beard. Guardian reporters Evans and Lewis suggest that between his deployment in Brighton and the move to Cardiff, ‘Jacobs’ ‘had the chance to learn from mistakes in Brighton. He became a vegan and changed his appearance, growing his hair to his shoulders and dying it purple.’ He was also bestowed with large amounts of body hair.
He had ear piercings and tattoos, including the name ‘Sam’ on his lower back (which he claimed was a tribute to his by then ex-wife), subsequently covered up with a black star, and a piece of Celtic knotwork on one shoulder, which he said he had got when he was in a bike gang as an 18 year old.
On arriving in Brighton, he claimed to have come from Reading, a city in the Thames Valley area, close to London. To activists in Cardiff he presented himself as from Northampton, a supporter of the Northampton Town football club, and moving away from Northampton due to a ‘messy break-up with a woman’ there. Accounts generally suggest - based on his accent and on claims made by ‘Jacobs’ himself - that he originally hailed from the English Midlands, possibly Northampton or Derby. It was subsequently discovered by a member of the milieu who Jacobs monitored in Cardiff, that elements of his own genuine biography bore a remarkable similarity to Marco’s fake backstory. This included the pub ('The Racehorse’ in Northampton) that he used to drink in, as well as a youthful tendency to get involved in fights and a spell on remand. 
On appearing in Brighton early on in his undercover deployment, ‘Jacobs’ claimed to be ‘a landscape artist [who] also drove trucks’. In Brighton, he presented an elaborated story on how he would do the front of corporate head quarters of companies that would want exactly the same design at their offices, for instance in Edinburgh and Bristol. He would use this as an explanation for the periods of time he was away. However, as he befriended an activist who was in landscaping too, he changed his said-occupation into truck driver and gave away his tools.
Following his relocation to Cardiff, he had refined his legend and presented himself as a truck driver who spent his time ‘hauling boxes of shopping catalogues around the country’. This part of his cover seems to have been meticulously prepared:
- He would spend hours explaining how he had executed complicated reversing manoeuvres, parking HGV trucks in parking bays ‘designed for Tonka cars’. He had a permanently suntanned right forearm, which friends noticed was noticeably browner than the left, even during the winter. It was, he said, the result of having one arm constantly rested on the truck door by the window...Jacobs talked so much about truck driving he became annoying.
Whilst in Brighton, he lived in ‘a house close to Elm Grove,’ a high density neighbourhood within the city with a large transient population due to large numbers of houses of multiple occupancy (HMOs) and popularity with students.
Activists in Brighton remember the flat as 'sparse' and 'clean', with just a Bob Marley poster on the wall. ‘Looks like the place of a copper’ someone said, but by the time that was a running gag - activists say in hindsight.
In Cardiff ‘Jacobs’ rented a first floor apartment ‘near Roath Park, on the fringe of the student area.’ According to CAN activist ‘Janine’ the flat was barely furnished and ‘entirely without personality,’ with ‘no photographs or anything else that you would have by the time you were in your 40s.’
Cardiff activist ‘Janine’ describes ‘Jacobs’ as ‘Big, burly, brash and blokey,’, an assessment echoed elsewhere, including the Cardiff Anarchist Network statement about him, which described the by-now exposed undercover policeman as ‘likeable, personally supportive, funny and very useful to have around’.
Several people have noted his use of humour. ‘Verity Smith’ has suggested that ‘he hid behind this sort of amiable clown thing, he made a joke of everything, deflected everything’. Another unnamed source posed a rhetorical question to regional newspaper Wales On Sunday: “If they can send a bloke cracking jokes into your life, who will they send next time?”
His legend included a messy breakup from a relationship with a woman who abused him. At the time this seemed a believable story, but some people had questions about Jacobs' claims - merely his size and weight made it not very likely that he would end up as the beaten one. In general, his attempt to position himself as a vulnerable person did not really work.
Publicly available accounts of his time in Brighton suggest that despite his best efforts he remained something of an outsider to the city's activist scene. Evans and Lewis claim that he had “few friends” there; their book contains recollections about ‘Jacobs’ from one of these, called ‘Terry’. Some people even felt sorry for him, he was trying so hard to fit in, but failed.
Changing the mood at meetings
Several accounts note that ‘Jacobs’ regularly used a number of idiosyncratic phrases.
The pen portrait of his time in Brighton by ‘Dick Tracy’ notes that ‘Jacobs’ was in the habit of ‘making sarcastic comments in social situations and meetings,’ adding that this ‘may have been an attempt to disrupt activist organising’.The Cardiff Anarchist Network monograph appears to echo this last supposition, stating that he ‘changed the culture of the organisation, encouraging a lot of drinking, gossip and back-stabbing.’
An otherwise brief FITwatch blog post lists a number of the catchphrases often used by ‘Jacobs’:
- little phrases that were used frequently to deflect question or discussion, or to lighten situations. ‘Dear diary...’ he'd say when we'd be discussing the days/weeks happenings. ‘And relax...’ at the end of meetings or stressful conversations. Everything was ‘dinky do’. He'd do a ‘welfare check’ to see how you were, and generally things were ridic/hillar/bloody marv. Other people's witticisms were greeted with ‘did you see what he did there?’. And that's a ‘negadive’ (negative) or ‘check’.
Based on their interviews with activists who knew ‘Jacobs’, Evans and Lewis claim that he ‘liked to adopt the persona of a Northern [English] comedian.’
In a similar vein, he would produce spoof minutes from meetings (mentioned in the context of Jacobs taking minutes of Dissent meetings before the G8 summit in Glenneagles).
Attitudes towards and promotion of violence
According to Evans and Lewis, during his time in Brighton ‘Jacobs’ “boasted about getting into pub brawls”. One story is a bit more specific, Jacobs claimed to have gone back to Northampton to meet and old mate, and ended up receiving a beating in a pub fight. In hindsight this story did not add up with Jacobs' claims of coming to Brighton because he needed a clean break from his old life.
By the time he surfaced in Cardiff he claimed that he had been to prison on remand, but was vague about why or what for, preferring instead to allude to a past as ‘a bit of a fighter.’
One commenter on CAN's statement on Indymedia, ‘stroppyoldgit’, claimed ‘Jacobs’ repeatedly attempted to stir up more militant or violent activity amongst activists at protests, regardless of the circumstances. In particular at a No Borders camp near Gatwick:
- He made a couple of ridiculous interventions in the big meeting before the main march through Crawley to the detention centre, urging us to make the next day a big fight with the cops...He tried to start a gormless violence-obsessed conversation.
Part of the back story given by ‘Jacobs’ is that “he was separated from his former partner, who used to physically abuse him”. The version put forward by Evans and Lewis is slightly different; they present it as a messy divorce from an abusive ex-wife called ‘Sam’ ('who beat him up') before appearing on the activist scene. Given that he had this name (or at least the letters S A M) tattooed on his back - subsequently covered up with a black star - it seems likely that there was a real person by this name in the life of the police officer playing the part of ‘Jacobs’.
Whilst he is not known to have developed many close bonds with activists in Brighton, an anonymous Indymedia posting claims that during his time there he “slept with at least one woman who was close to the activist scene”. Activists in Brighton said it was a friend of a friend, and not somebody close to the scene.
In Brighton, he confided to a friend that he had once kissed a man, but asked for this to remain confidential.
In contrast he was able to “befriend people from the [south Wales] area around the country at different protests” - first meeting CAN activists in 2004 - and so decided to move to Cardiff. Here ‘Jacobs’ was able to ingratiate himself into several close friendships. These included:
- Tom Fowler: an activist involved in, amongst other groups, Cardiff Anarchist Network and South Wales Anarchists, and “then at the centre of Cardiff activism” He says Jacobs “became a very close friend of mine, became more than a close friend of some members of our group.” Fowler described ‘Jacobs’ as “privy to all of my decision-making around activism and personal relationships to a really deep level...He was like my best mate. He was the most reliable person in my life.”
- Fran Ryan: A vegan baker introduced to ‘Jacobs’ by Tom Fowler, Fran Ryan was then 50 and “not herself politically active”, but she “quickly formed a rapport with the undercover police officer.” ‘Jacobs’ even tried (unsuccessfully) to get her to accompany him to a “meeting of European animal rights activists in Vienna”, before she agreed instead to go with him to an animal rights gathering in Essex.
‘Jacobs’ is also known to have had sexual relationships with at least two activists amongst the groups he spied upon.
- ‘Sarah’: In the summer of 2007, ‘Jacobs’ began a sexual relationship with ‘Sarah’, then 26 years old, and well-connected in activist circles, after they returned from Germany where they had taken part in the anti-G8 Heiligendamm summit protests. The relationship, which only lasted “a few weeks”, was built on a close friendship the two had developed over the previous few years, and began at the prompting of ‘Jacobs’, who had initially suggested that they “take their relationship further” two months before the G8. (Note that previously The Guardian had reported that this relationship had taken place in 2008 and lasted three months.)
- ‘Deborah’: In 2009, when she was in a relationship with Tom Fowler, ‘Deborah’ father was terminally ill with cancer. In Fowler's words, ‘Jacobs’ “put himself in the middle of that [relationship]...[and] acted as a father figure to her.” Simultaneously he behaved as a confidant to Fowler, who told him about his and ‘Deborah’s relationship troubles. When her father died, ‘Jacobs’ attended the funeral. According to Evans and Lewis he “offered her a shoulder to cry on...[then] tried to seduce her”. Initially ‘Deborah’ turned him down, but eventually they embarked on a brief sexual relationship after ‘Jacobs’ told her that he loved her. Then, “believing she was about to begin a serious relationship with the truck driver,” she broke up with Fowler, only for ‘Jacobs’ to suddenly lose interest.  'Deborah' gives a detailed account of the relationship on the 'Police Spies Out of Lives' website and in a Channel 4 News Interview in 2016.
The circumstances of the efforts by ‘Jacobs’ to interpose himself into the lives of activists in Cardiff, and to pursue intimate sexual relationships with targets, has subsequently been the focus of legal action taken by Fowler, ‘Sarah’ and ‘Deborah’ (see court cases section below).
- Update: In his application for anonymity over his real name in the Undercover Policing Inquiry, this profile was cited and Jacobs denied having the relationships.
Habits, tastes and interests
This section is pieced together from details noted in the various accounts of ‘Jacobs’' activities, and as such cannot be considered to be either comprehensive or definitive.
‘Jacobs’ professed a passion for rock music, and used going to out-of-town gigs - purportedly with friends not from the activist scene - as a pretext for absences from Cardiff. A “heavy metal CD collection” is said to have filled the floor of his otherwise spartan Cardiff flat. Activist Tom Fowler recalled how the two of them would go to punk gigs in Newport.
His MySpace page indicates that he was a fan of the following bands and artists, predominantly heavy metal or hard rock:
|AC/DC||Alice Cooper||Annihilator||Big Linda||Chris Broderick||Crawler||Def Leppard||Evile||Fathom Down||Gojira||Hawkwind||Hot Leg|
|The Hush||Judas Priest||Led Zeppelin||Lovecraaft||Megadeth||Metallica||Motörhead||Mutant||Nuclear Theatre||Onslaught||Pink Floyd||Privateer|
|Reb Beach||Sanctity||Savage Messiah||Saxon||Slipknot||Stone Gods||Tony Iommi||Trivium||V-Twin||Venom||Warpath||Whitesnake|
Alcohol & Drugs
Both in Brighton and Cardiff ‘Jacobs’ developed a reputation for being able to consume prodigious quantities of alcohol (“a notorious ability to drink huge quantities of alcohol without becoming drunk,” say Evans and Lewis). Cardiff activist Tom Fowler notes that one catchphrase of ‘Jacobs’ was “Strong European lager is my drug of choice.”
In Brighton, he regularly attended the Cowley Club, an anarchist social centre. He is said to “treated the Cowley bar as his regular,” boasting how much he could drink and was “often generous in buying rounds,”.
Activist ‘Verity Smith’ commented on this aspect of him:
- He would be down the pub all the time, he would always have money for drinks, he would be very keen to encourage people to go out drinking with him and used that time to really probe people on what they thought and what their attitudes were and what their opinions were, what their vulnerabilities were. I also think he wanted to instil a drinking culture that automatically excluded those people who were not part of that party scene - because they were working or because they had children or because they were not of that age group or whatever.
His capacity for drink was even noticed overseas, such as at the 2007 anti-G8 Heiligendamm protests in Germany.
Food & diet
It is perhaps of note that whilst trying to infiltrate the activist milieu in Brighton - where it is received wisdom that he was less successful in penetrating networks - ‘Jacobs’ remained a meat-eating outsider, but that by the time he more successfully worked his way into the Cardiff scene he had become vegan.
Activist modus operandi, undercover tradecraft
Whilst undercover, ‘Marco Jacobs’ infiltrated (or attempted to infiltrate) a considerable number of political campaigns. He is known to have involved (or attempted to involve) himself in the following networks, groups, issues or tactics:
- Animal rights networks, including Swansea Animal Rights
- Anti-Metrix/RAF St Athan Defence Academy
- Black Bloc
- Camp Bling
- Camp for Climate Action
- Cardiff Anarchist Network
- Cowley Club
- Dissent! Network
- Eat Out Vegan Wales
- Gwent Anarchists
- Heiligendamm G8 protests
- KTS Autonomous Centre
- Milford Haven anti-LNG pipeline
- No Borders and in particular No Borders South Wales
- No To NATO
- Pembrokeshire Anarchists
- Rising Tide Network
- St. Petersburg G8 mobilisation and planning
- Smash EDO
- South Wales Anarchists
According to applications for anonymity made on his behalf in the Undercover Policing Inquiry:
- The object of [Jacobs'] deployment was to gather intelligence on a number of loosely affiliated left-wing, climate change and anarchist groups and individuals who may have been involved in planning violent protests targeted at the G8 Summit to be held in Scotland in 2005. To that end he was deployed to infiltrate the Brighton Dissent Group in Sussex in 2004, and subsequently similar groups, including the Cardiff Activist Network in Cardiff. In the years of his deployment (2004 to 2009) [he] attended a number of protests in the UK and elsewhere in Europe.
In a revised open application, this is changed to:
- EN1 infiltrated a number of extreme left wing groups and investigated the activities of [redacted] an animal rights extremist with a history of violence including the use of explosives.
During his deployment, ‘Marco Jacobs’ engaged in a number of activities which enabled him to get close or closer to other activists and their decision-making processes. These included:
- Participation in protest and direct action activities overseas (‘summit-hopping’)
- Taking pictures of protest (reportedly brought a camera to the G8 summit in Heiligendamm)
Offences believed to have been committed
'Jacobs' is known to have been arrested with others on two occasions following doing actions; both times his house was apparently raided, as were the homes of those arrested with him. The first is circa 2004-2005, in Brighton, when he and two others were arrested for fly-positing in the run up to the G8. The second was circa 2006-2007, when he was arrested during pipeline action at Milford Haven.
There is also an account of him driving with out-of-date insurance.
In common with other undercover officers who have been unmasked, ‘Jacobs’ appears to have had an exit strategy which saw him preparing those around him for his impending departure, albeit one which apparently played out only over a matter of weeks rather than months, as seems to have been the case with others before him. In effect, he announced that he had been offered a job as a gardener in Corfu, and shortly afterwards left from Cardiff. Contact with several activists in Cardiff was maintained for a few weeks, but then dried up.
Exposure and post-exposure issues
Accounts of the undercover tour of ‘Marco Jacobs’ have repeatedly made mention of how at various times he was suspected of being, if not necessarily a policeman, then certainly something other than a committed political activist. However, despite such suspicions, he remained able to continue his undercover deployment until - it seems - his tour came to a natural conclusion and he was exfiltrated. He was not fully exposed as a police infiltrator until January 2011 - nearly a year and a half after he left Cardiff in August 2009.
Early suspicions in Brighton
‘Marco Jacobs’ had been suspected of being a police officer by a number of activists at different times. According to the Indymedia account of his time in Brighton, “From the beginning there were suspicions about Marco - In fact he used to joke that everyone thought he was a cop.”
The Guardian journalists' Undercover book supports this: “activists in Brighton say they became suspicious.” In their account, even ‘Terry’, one of the few to call themselves a friend of ‘Jacobs’ during his Brighton phase, recalls that “The word was, that man is a copper, everyone knows he is a copper...It was something about his deportment that just screamed ‘pig’ to some people.” According to ‘Terry’, less than a year into his deployment ‘Jacobs’ asked him “‘Everyone thinks I’m a copper, don’t they?”
Considering that he was subsequent outed, activists in Brighton told the Undercover Research Group:
- There were rumours about Jacobs, but on the other hand: there are rumours about a lot of people. There was someone very much involved in the scene who would stand up for Jacobs, trusting him. Just because someone is different, he is not necessarily a spy - maybe he was just a bit lost in life. This may have kept people from getting together to investigate Jacobs. One reason for serious doubt was the fact that he claimed to have been involved in hunt sabbing [sabotage] - while up north nobody in activist circles knew him. In hindsight this should have rung a bell... now activists ask themselves: how could he have been involved in radical animal activism before he came to Brighton, and arriving there as a meat-eater?
Suspicions build in Cardiff
By the time of his 2009 exfiltration from Cardiff, doubts about him had accrued in that city as well, as ‘Verity Smith’ notes: “By that time a number of us had quite deep suspicions about him but there were such divisions within the group that we hadn’t told each other about them. I didn’t know, for instance, that a number of others in the group shared my suspicions.” At a leaving party for ‘Jacobs’ in August, even his closest friend in the city, Tom Fowler, joked to him that “If you disappear in a few months, you do realise that means you’re a cop, don’t you?”
For a period of time following his putative departure to Corfu he continued to exchange text messages with some of his activist friends, and sent postcards. However, these “dried up” soon after, his UK mobile phone number became no longer recognised, and his Greek mobile phone was reset to not accept incoming calls or texts. He also failed to update his social media accounts, such as his MySpace page.
By February 2010, the suspicions had grown to the point that the person running the No Borders South Wales MySpace account left a message on that of ‘Jacobs’ (who had not updated his page in months) which directly referenced the uncertainty. It read: “Yassoo. Kalla? Dear Marco, hope all is well/you're not a cop. Al [sic] the best, Cardiff.”
With no word from him for some time, a number of Cardiff Anarchist Network activists began to come to the conclusion that he had been a police spy: “at that point people’s suspicions consolidated and people started to talk to each other and ask whether he was a cop. The group got together and talked about it, there was broad agreement that we thought he probably was but we didn’t know what to do about it. People outside the group were quite dismissive and often we weren’t believed,” says ‘Verity Smith’.
On 14 January 2011 - five days after The Guardian exposed Mark Kennedy) - the paper published a piece on its website which whilst not naming or picturing the man known to those he spied upon as ‘Marco Jacobs’, clearly identified him as an undercover police officer.
It is thought likely that police sources asked The Guardian not to identify ‘Jacobs’ by work, name or photograph in the same way they did in regards of ‘Lynn Watson’, an NPOIU spy who was publicly exposed two days prior on 12 January. Some people thought The Guardian “bowed to pressure from the cops to keep his identity a secret”, see Emily Apple, ‘Death, grief, and undercover cops’, Random Reflections of a Domestic Extremist blog, 13 February 2011 (accessed 30 August 2014).</ref> Instead the paper initially referred to him only as ‘Officer B’ in the same way that ‘Watson’ was at first labelled only as ‘Officer A’. She was confirmed as a serving police officer by “intelligence officials” and “senior police officers”, with further corroboration coming in April in the Times.
However, campaign group FITwatch, immediately published on their website a précis of the Guardian story the night before the print edition was due to hit the streets, which included naming and publishing photographs of ‘Jacobs’. The next day - 15 January - they reposted the same article to Indymedia. A further blog post followed on 18 January, with more photographs. The Guardian followed a few days later, on 19 January, identifying ‘Jacobs’ by name and photograph. That same day activists from Cardiff Anarchist Network released a statement about ‘Jacobs’ which was published on both the South Wales Anarchists website and on Indymedia UK.; ‘Dick Tracy’ then also posted the account of ‘Jacobs’' Brighton deployment to Indymedia.
Since his exposure three people from Cardiff Anarchist Network who were spied on for four years by Jacobs initiated a court action against the Metropolitan and South Wales police forces over the effect of Jacobs' intrusion in their lives and the distress it has caused. Two had sexual relationships with Jacobs, the third is a man who was the partner of one of one of them and was very close friends with Jacobs. However, the police responded by saying they can 'Neither Confirm Nor Deny' whether 'Jacobs' was a police officer, mirroring other similiar cases.
In early 2013 Judge Michael Tugendhat, summarised the case around the sexual relationships formed by ‘Jacobs’ in Cardiff as:
- Between 2005 and 2009 MJ [Marco Jacobs] formed (apparently) close relationships with all three Tuckers Claimants, including intimate sexual relationships with AJA [‘Sarah’] and ARB [‘Deborah’]. MJ instigated a sexual relationship with ARB at a time when she was in a relationship with Mr Fowler. During the course of those relationships, MJ purported to be a confidante, empathiser and source of close support to each of the Tuckers Claimants, including in relation to deeply personal aspects of their lives: he attended, for example, the funeral of ARB’s father after his death from cancer. In doing so, he exploited the vulnerabilities of the Tuckers Claimants and sought to encourage them to rely on him emotionally. None of the Tuckers Claimants would have entered into these relationships with MJ had they been aware of his true identity as a police officer.
In March 2015, the three came to the High Court in London to challenge the use of NCND in relation to their claim for damages. In a partial victory, the police said that they would not contest the assertion that Jacobs was an officer, and if damages are awarded then the police will be liable to pay.
Whilst the Metropolitan Police did not say they were dropping the use of NCND, they effectively admitted that Jacobs had been an undercover. However, no further evidence has yet been released to shine a light as to who sent Jacobs to spy, what they asked him to do, and how much they knew of his abuse of those he targeted.
The next hearing in the High Court in London is set for 7 June 2016.
- For more on the NCND defence of the police, see the 'Neither Confirm Nor Deny' page at the Police Spies Out of Lives website, by the Support group for women's legal action against undercover policing.
This section brings together all the publicly available photographs of ‘Marco Jacobs’. Where known, any date, location, subject and rights information will be given with a picture.
FITwatch, 14 January 2011
In the wake of the first mainstream reference to ‘Lynn Watson’ on 13 January 2011, the following day (14 January 2011) FITwatch published the first exposé (including picture) of the man known as ‘Marco Jacobs’ - a statement put out in the name of Cardiff Anarchist Network.
FITwatch, 18 January 2011
Four days later, FITwatch posted up additional photos of ‘Jacobs’. Several of these photographs were subsequently used by mainstream media outlets, such as The Guardian, to illustrate their articles about ‘Jacobs’.
1. Undated photo - a cropped version of this photo was subsequently used by The Guardian from 19 January 2011 onwards
South Wales Anarchists, 19 January 2014
The next day, the CAN statement previously posted to the FITwatch blog was also published on the website of South Wales Anarchists.
For ease of reference the full list of all known material specifically relating to the undercover police officer known as ‘Marco Jacobs’ has been put onto a separate page in addition to the end notes below.
- Also see Marco Jacobs Undercover Timeline
In the Undercover Policing Inquiry
- October 2016 an application to restrict Jacobs' real name was made to the Undercover Policing Inquiry by his lawyers, Slater & Gordon. This was revised in March 2018, though they were not released by the Inquiry until 9 July 2018. The main thrust of these applications is to prevent release of details which would allow the officer's real name to enter the public domain. The revised application is made on the ground that releasing his real name would 'create a real risk of harm to him and his wife and have a serious and detrimental impact on EN1's physical and mental health'. Psychiatric evidence is cited, the officer having Adjustment Disorder which would apparently on balance of probabilities deteriorate if his real name was released, and it is noted he had a heart attack in 2018. Further arguments to protect him and his wife from media interest are also made. It also notes that he denies having two sexual relationships and he was interviewed twice (2014 & 2015) under criminal caution by Operation Herne.
- 2 May 2018: it was indicated the Inquiry would restrict his real name, with its Chair writing.
- EN1 was deployed against a number of groups between 2004 and 2009 in the cover name "Marco Jacobs". The risk to his safety, then and now, posed by members of the groups and their associates was and is small. Two women claim that he conducted a deceitful sexual relationship with them during his deployment and have brought civil proceedings against the Metropolitan Police Commissioner for damages. He disputes their claim. Until the facts are determined, it is not necessary to publish or to disclose to them his true identity. All relevant issues concerning his deployment can and will be publicly explored in his cover name.
- If the real name of EN1 were to be published, he and his wife would face some risk of harassment and would undoubtedly be the subject of intense media interest. I have been told that in February 2018 he suffered a heart attack which required surgical intervention and has been advised that further stress would increase the risk of a second cardiac event. There is, as yet, no medical evidence to that effect; but I accept the truth and accuracy of what I have been told. Publication of his real name and its possible consequences would be stressful events for him and might put his health seriously at risk. On that basis, the interference in his right to respect for his private and family life which publication of his real name would cause would be neither proportionate nor justified under Article 8(2) of the European Convention on Human Rights ('the European Convention'). If, for good reason, the truth and accuracy of what I have been told is put in question, I will require that a medical report is produced before maintaining the restriction order which I am minded to make.
- 9 July 2018: open restriction order applications released, with directions that any submissions in response to be made by 20 July 2018.
- On 30 October 2018, Mitting ruled that the officer's real name would be restricted, even from the women targeted for relationships. However, he wrote:
- Because the state of EN 1's health has been put in issue, I will seek confirmation from his general practitioner and, if necessary, his treating cardiovascular surgeon, of the facts about his condition, its treatment and its consequences. In the event that I have been seriously misled, I will reconsider the decision to make a restriction order in respect of his real name...
- Rob Evans & Paul Lewis, Undercover: The True Story of Britain's Secret Police, Faber & Faber, 2013, p226.
- Sean O'Neill, ‘Police infiltrator in fear for her life after gang cover is blown’, The Times, 20/04/11 (accessed 10 May 2014).
- Really Fit, ‘More pictures of undercover cop 'Marco'’, FITwatch blog, 18 January 2011 (accessed via 4 May 2011 archive.org cache, 27 August 2014).
- Rajeev Syal, ‘Undercover police: Officer B identified as Mark Jacobs’, The Guardian, 19 January 2011 (accessed 11 May 2014).
- Fitwatch, ‘Officer 'B' confirmed as Cardiff based 'Marco' Jacobs’, Indymedia UK, 15 January 2011 (accessed 11 May 2014).
- Paul Lewis, Matthew Taylor & Rajeev Syal, ‘Third undercover police spy unmasked as scale of network emerges’, The Guardian, 15 January 2011 (accessed 11 May 2014).
- Dick Tracy, ‘An account of Marco Jacobs' time in Brighton’, Indymedia UK, 19 January 2011 (accessed 11 May 2014).
- Campaign Opposing Police Surveillance, Police Concede Marco Jacobs was Spycop, blog post, 26 March 2015 (accessed June 2016).
- Undercover Policing Inquiry, Press Notice, UCPI.org.uk, 10 November 2016 (accessed 10 Novemeber 2016).
- Dick Tracy, ‘An account of Marco Jacobs' time in Brighton’, IndyMedia UK, 19 January 2011 (accessed 11 May 2014).
- Oliver Hides, ‘Interview with Tom Fowler about police infiltration of Cardiff Anarchist Network (package)’, Good Morning Wales, BBC Radio Wales, 6 November 2013 (accessed via Tumblr 13 August 2014) (transcript AVT024 by BristleKRS).
- Tom Anderson, ‘Infiltrated, Intimidated and Undermined: How Police Infiltration Can Mute Political Dissent - An Interview with Verity Smith, from Cardiff Anarchist Network’ in Rebecca Fisher (ed.), Managing Democracy Managing Dissent, Corporate Watch, 2013 (accessed 17 June 2014), p276.
- See section on relationships for more on this.
- Cardiff Anarchist Network, ‘Statement on the infiltration by Mark ‘Marco ’ Jacobs’, South Wales Anarchists website, 19 January 2011 (accessed 27 August 2014).
- Cardiff Anarchist Network, ‘Statement from Cardiff Anarchist Network (CAN) on the infiltration by Mark 'Marco' Jacobs’, IndyMedia UK, 19 January 2011 (accessed 11 May 2014).
- Rob Evans & Paul Lewis, Undercover: The True Story of Britain's Secret Police, Faber & Faber, 2013, p234.
- It should be noted that one published source has ‘Jacobs’' job as being on Cyprus rather than Corfu - see Tom Anderson, ‘Infiltrated, Intimidated and Undermined: How Police Infiltration Can Mute Political Dissent - An Interview with Verity Smith, from Cardiff Anarchist Network’ in Rebecca Fisher (ed.), Managing Democracy Managing Dissent, Corporate Watch, 2013 (accessed 17 June 2014), p281.
- Paul Lewis, Rob Evans & Martin Wainwright, ‘Mark Kennedy knew of second undercover eco-activist’, The Guardian, 10/01/11 (accessed 10 May 2014).
- Paul Lewis, Rob Evans & Martin Wainwright, ‘Second police officer to infiltrate environmental activists unmasked’, The Guardian, 12/01/11 (accessed 10 May 2014).
- Paul Lewis, Rob Evans & Vikram Dodd, ‘Revealed: Second undercover police officer who posed as activist’, The Guardian, 13/01/11 (accessed 10 May 2014).
- quiteliketheguardianactually, ‘Officer A’, Indymedia UK, 13/01/11 (accessed 10 May 2014).
- ABC Anarres, ‘Three undercover political Police unmasked as infiltrators into UK Anarchist, Anti-Fascist and Climate Justice movements’, Indymedia UK, 19/01/11 (accessed 10 May 2014).
- Really Fit in the FITwatch article (see note #3) puts his weight at approximately “15/16 stone”.
- Really Fit in the FITwatch article (see note #3) puts his height at ‘around 5'11’”.
- See gallery of photographs above.
- Rob Evans & Paul Lewis, Undercover: The True Story of Britain's Secret Police, Faber & Faber, 2013, p227.
- Tom Anderson, ‘Infiltrated, Intimidated and Undermined: How Police Infiltration Can Mute Political Dissent - An Interview with Verity Smith, from Cardiff Anarchist Network’ in Rebecca Fisher (ed.), Managing Democracy Managing Dissent, Corporate Watch, 2013 (accessed 17 June 2014), p277.
- Courtnee Brantley, ‘Marco information’, Indymedia UK, 24 January 2011 (accessed 18 August 2014)
- Undercover Research Group, Interview with ‘Jack’, 10 March 2020 (accessed 12 March 2020).
- Interview with group of activists in Brighton, URG, 2 October 2014
- Rob Evans & Paul Lewis, Undercover: The True Story of Britain's Secret Police, Faber & Faber, 2013, p228.
- Planning & Public Protection, Information & Mapping, ‘HMO & Student Housing Density: Hanover & Elm Grove Ward’, Brighton & Hove City Council website, November 2011 (accessed 27 August 2014).
- Tom Anderson, ‘Infiltrated, Intimidated and Undermined: How Police Infiltration Can Mute Political Dissent - An Interview with Verity Smith, from Cardiff Anarchist Network’ in Rebecca Fisher (ed.), Managing Democracy Managing Dissent, Corporate Watch, 2013 (accessed 17 June 2014), p280.
- unknown author, ‘Welsh protest groups infiltrated by police undercover officers talk of their feeling of bitterness and betrayal’, Wales On Sunday, 23 January 2011 (accessed 29 August 2014).
- Rob Evans & Paul Lewis, Undercover: The True Story of Britain's Secret Police, Faber & Faber, 2013, pp226-227.
- Stroppyoldgit, ‘@ @rchie’, Indymedia UK, 3 February 2011 (accessed 18 August 2014).
- The Hon. Mr Justice Tugendhat, AKJ and others -v- Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis and others, High Court of Justice, Queen's Bench Division, 17 January 2013 (accessed 23 April 2014).
- a source, ‘Another under-the-covers-cop’, Indymedia UK, 30 January 2011 (accessed 18 August 2014).
- Lord Justice Maurice Kay & Lady Justice Sharp, In the Court of Appeal (Civil Division) on Appeal from the High Court, QBD - Mr Justice Tugendhat HQ12X00132 before LJ Maurice Kay & LJ Sharp - AJA, ARB & Thomas Fowler -v- Chief Constable South Wales Police & ACPO + AKJ, KAW & SUR -v- Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis & ACPO, Court of Appeal (Civil Division), Royal Courts of Justice, 5 November 2013 (accessed 28 August 2014).
- Rob Evans & Paul Lewis, Undercover: The True Story of Britain's Secret Police, Faber & Faber, 2013, p231.
- Rob Evans & Paul Lewis, Undercover: The True Story of Britain's Secret Police, Faber & Faber, 2013, p232-233.
- Rob Evans & Paul Lewis, Undercover: The True Story of Britain's Secret Police, Faber & Faber, 2013, p231-232.
- 'Deborah', Deborah's Story Police Spies Out of Lives, undated, (accessed 12 March 2020).
- Simon Israel, Undercover police in Welsh anarchist group Channel 4 News, 19 December 2016 (accessed 12 March 2020).
- [Open Application on behalf of Marco Jacobs EN1 for restriction orders], Slater & Gordon (solicitors), 21 March 2018, open version prepared 17 May 2018 (released by Undercover Policing Inquiry 9 July 2018).
- Rob Evans & Paul Lewis, Undercover: The True Story of Britain's Secret Police, Faber & Faber, 2013, p229.
- James McCarthy, ‘‘Spying’ case against Met Police to be heard in secret’, Wales On Sunday, 17 January 2013 (accessed 29 August 2014).
- James McCarthy, ‘‘An outrage that case will be held in secret’’, South Wales Echo, 18 January 2013 (accessed via TheFreeLibrary 29 August 2014).
- James McCarthy, ‘Anarchist slams court ruling on secret trial: Claims women were tricked into sex with police’, Western Mail, 18 January 2013 (accessed via TheFreeLibrary 29 August 2014).
- Mark Jacobs, ‘Mark Jacobs MySpace profile’, MySpace.com, 2009(?) (accessed 28 August 2014).
- unknown author, ‘Undercover cop: Brighton's very own pig in a blanket’, Rough Music #25, February/March 2011 (accessed 27 August 2014).
- Tom Anderson, ‘Infiltrated, Intimidated and Undermined: How Police Infiltration Can Mute Political Dissent - An Interview with Verity Smith, from Cardiff Anarchist Network’ in Rebecca Fisher (ed.), Managing Democracy Managing Dissent, Corporate Watch, 2013 (accessed 17 June 2014), p278.
- Veit Medick, Sven Röbel & Marcel Rosenbach, ‘Maulwürfe im Milieu’, Der Spiegel, 23 May 2011 (accessed 18 August 2014): the article notes that “At Heiligendamm [G8 summit in June 2007] about ten foreign police officers were deployed besides Kennedy, including a Welsh colleague with the alias ‘Marco Jacobs’, a supposed truck driver from Cardiff who attracted attention at the Baltic Sea activist camp with his drinking ability. In return, German authorities also sent their undercover officers around the world. The Berlin State Criminal Police Office alone sent five officers to the 2005 G8 protests in Gleneagles, each of whom was accompanied by a liaison officer, who served as a contact person to receive reports from the moles in the movement.” (Translation: BristleKRS)
- Rob Evans & Paul Lewis, Undercover: The True Story of Britain's Secret Police, Faber & Faber, 2013.
- James McCarthy, ‘Betrayed by an undercover cop’, Wales On Sunday, 23 January 2011 (accessed via TheFreeLibrary 29 August 2014).
- James McCarthy, ‘Undercover cop's ‘sex betrayal’, Wales On Sunday, 25 August 2013 (accessed via TheFreeLibrary 29 August 2014).
- Tom Anderson, ‘Infiltrated, Intimidated and Undermined: How Police Infiltration Can Mute Political Dissent - An Interview with Verity Smith, from Cardiff Anarchist Network’ in Rebecca Fisher (ed.), Managing Democracy Managing Dissent, Corporate Watch, 2013 (accessed 17 June 2014), pp278.
- Note: Strictly speaking, a tactic rather than a group - though indicates that Jacobs associated with those willing to adopt confrontational tactics at mobilisations.
- Rob Evans & Paul Lewis, Undercover: The True Story of Britain's Secret Police, Faber & Faber, 2013, p243.
- Eat Out Vegan Wales, ‘Home page’, Eat Out Vegan Wales website, accessed 30 August 2014.
- Rob Evans & Paul Lewis, Undercover: The True Story of Britain's Secret Police, Faber & Faber, 2013, p232.
- Andrej Hunko, ‘Information on sexual relationships by British undercover investigators in Germany/information for the individuals affected’, written evidence to Home Affairs Committee, Parliament.uk, February 2013 (accessed 18 August 2014).
- @rchie, ‘Hey stroppygit and folk from brighton.’, Indymedia UK, 20 January 2011 (accessed 18 August 2014).
- Tom Anderson, ‘Infiltrated, Intimidated and Undermined: How Police Infiltration Can Mute Political Dissent - An Interview with Verity Smith, from Cardiff Anarchist Network’ in Rebecca Fisher (ed.), Managing Democracy Managing Dissent, Corporate Watch, 2013 (accessed 17 June 2014), p277.
- Nachtermittlungen, ‘Schweine in zivii’, Indymedia UK, 15 January 2011 (accessed 18 August 2014).
- ABC Anarres, ‘Three undercover political Police unmasked as infiltrators into UK Anarchist, Anti-Fascist and Climate Justice movements’, Indymedia UK, 19 January 2011 (accessed 11 May 2014).
- [Open Application on behalf of Marco Jacobs EN1 for restriction orders], Slater & Gordon (solicitors), 31 October 2016 (released by Undercover Policing Inquiry 9 July 2018).
- someone from Paris, ‘please forward evidence..’, Indymedia UK, 15 January 2011 (accessed 19 August 2014).
- acrosthechannel, ‘Mark and Marcos were at a dissent meeting in Strasbourg in January 2009’, Indymedia UK, 17 January 2011 (accessed 18 August 2014).
- alsoacrossthechannel, ‘marco was at 2 meetings in strasbourg’, Indymedia UK, 18 January 2011 (accessed 18 August 2014).
- Tom Anderson, ‘Infiltrated, Intimidated and Undermined: How Police Infiltration Can Mute Political Dissent - An Interview with Verity Smith, from Cardiff Anarchist Network’ in Rebecca Fisher (ed.), Managing Democracy Managing Dissent, Corporate Watch, 2013 (accessed 17 June 2014), p277-280.
- Rob Evans & Paul Lewis, Undercover: The True Story of Britain's Secret Police, Faber & Faber, 2013, p233.
- Tom Anderson, ‘Infiltrated, Intimidated and Undermined: How Police Infiltration Can Mute Political Dissent - An Interview with Verity Smith, from Cardiff Anarchist Network’ in Rebecca Fisher (ed.), Managing Democracy Managing Dissent, Corporate Watch, 2013 (accessed 17 June 2014), p281.
- Mark Jacobs, ‘Marco MySpace profile’, MySpace.com, 2010 (accessed via 8 May 2013 archive.org cache, 28 August 2014).
- Someone, ‘Comment on his myspace page’, Indymedia UK, 15 January 2011 (accessed 30 August 2014).
- Rob Evans & Paul Lewis, ‘Undercover officer spied on green activists’, The Guardian, 9 January 2011 (accessed 31 August 2014). This was however more than a fortnight after the Sunday Times had picked up on the story, Tim Rayment & Jonathan Leake, ‘7-year snitch: ‘Flash’ the activist is a secret cop’, Sunday Times, 19 December 2010 (accessed 5 June 2014) after reading about ‘Flash’ on Indymedia, ‘Mark 'Stone/Kennedy' exposed as undercover police officer’, Indymedia UK, 21 October 2010 (Accessed 31 August 2014).
- Really Fit, ‘'Marco' confirmed as undercover cop in Cardiff’, FITwatch blog, 14 January 2011 (accessed via 9 November 2011 archive.org cache, 11 May 2014).
- Paul Lewis, Rob Evans, Paddy Allen & Simon Jeffrey, ‘Police spies and corporate infiltrators - an interactive guide to what we know so far’, The Guardian, 3 May 2011 (accessed 27 August 2014).
- Rob Evans & Paul Lewis, ‘Undercover police spies unmasked - in pictures’, The Guardian, 24 June 2013 (accessed 27 August 2014).
- NPOIU 'Minded to' officer's list of documents - published 09 July 2018, Undercover Policing Inquiry, 9 July 2018. See also associated press note: Publication of documents relating to anonymity applications: National Public Order Intelligence Unit & Special Demonstration Squad, Undercover Policing Inquiry, 9 July 2018.
- Steven Gray, Counsel to the Inquiry's Explanatory Note to accompany the Chairman's 'Minded To' Note 12 in respect of applications for restrictions over the real and cover name of officers of the National Public Order Intelligence Unit and its predecessor/successor units, Undercover Policing Inquiry, 2 May 2018.
- Sir John Mitting, Applications for restriction orders in respect of the real and cover names of officers of the National Public Order Intelligence Unit and its predecessor/successor units 'Minded to' Note, Undercover Policing Inquiry, 2 May 2018.
- Sir John Mitting, Applications for restriction orders in respect of real and cover names of officers of the Special Operations Squad and the Special Demonstration Squad and of the National Public Order Intelligence Unit - Directions, Undercover Policing Inquiry, 3 July 2018.
- Sir John Mitting, Applications for restriction orders in respect of the real and cover names of officers of the National Public Order Intelligence Unit and its predecessor/successor units Ruling 1 and 'Minded to' 2, Undercover Policing Inquiry, 30 October 2018.