Police spy Bob Lambert fire-bombed the Harrow branch of Debenham’s in July 1987, Green MP Caroline Lucas told parliament on 13 June. The attack was perhaps ‘a move to bolster Lambert’s credibility’ within the Animal Liberation Front, which he had succeeded in infiltrating.
Lambert then helped convict two other members of the group, Geoff Sheppard and Andrew Clark, who carried out fire-bombings of Debenham stores in Luton and Romford at the same time as the Harrow attack. Sheppard and Clark were sentenced to over three years’ imprisonment. No-one has ever been convicted of the Harrow bombing.
Lucas said she had seen a statement by Sheppard naming Lambert as responsible for the Harrow device. Lambert has denied the accusation, while saying: ‘It was necessary to create the false impression that I was a committed animal rights extremist.’
Sex as a tool
Lambert had previously admitted an 18-month relationship with an activist during his time undercover. Police minister Nick Herbert said in June that undercover police officers should be allowed to have sex with activists because banning such actions would allow ‘the group targeted’ a method of discovering undercover officers within their group.