Undercover copper ‘knew he was in big trouble’ when Millwall fans confronted him

An undercover copper was on the brink of being outed during his time working in a Millwall hooligan gang – but managed to turn the tables with some quick thinking.

James Bannon was tasked with becoming Jim Ford to take on the most dangerous of assignments – and it nearly came to a violent ending. In his book Running with the Firm, published in 2013, Bannon discussed his time working undercover in Millwall gang The Bushwackers.

The ex-Police officer was entrusted with the infiltration of the hooligan group during the 1980s as part of a sophisticated sting.

READ MORE: Undercover hooligan ‘shoved ice cream in policeman's face' when he was almost exposed

The sting, which was designed to try and help nullify the hooligan groups bringing violence and fear to English football at the time, was of course full of risk.

With Bannon going by the name of Jim Ford, he was once cornered in a Catford pub and accused of being an officer of the law – leading to a tense standoff to say the very least.

Having been asked to meet some Millwall fans, one of whom was very sceptical over his identity, in the boozer, he and a pal were cornered.

He said of a man called Dave, who had grabbed hold of a pool cue: "Dave stopped and stared at me long and hard. I now knew that we were in f***ing big trouble."

He goes on to remember how Dave accused him of being Old Bill, because he wasn't known at a local house where 'Jim' was supposed to be painting.

The aggressor said: "You don't see any of us laughing, that's exactly what I'm saying – that you and him are f***ing Old Bill."

A quick excuse formed as Jim explained that the roof hadn't yet gone on the build, meaning he hadn't yet started, before the tables turned and he even got an apology.

Bannon remembered saying in his role as Jim, having called Dave to meet him outside in a scrap: "F*** off. I'm not f***ing interested in any of that s***."

He concluded of the incident as Bannon: "I then walked outside and took in deep gulps of air. I was shaking out of fear and anger."

As recently as September, Bannon appeared on the Anything Goes with James English podcast, detailing how he was once nearly outed by a former colleague.

He said: "It was a sergeant who started coming towards me and you know someone’s recognised you and is going to start talking.

"I just planted an ice cream in his head. I had bought everyone ice creams on our way in and as he came towards me I thought ‘oh f***ing hell I’ve got to do something here’.

"I just went ‘bop!’ and then grabbed him and said ‘I’m working what the f*** are you doing?’.” Bannon’s quick thinking not only silenced the colleague in his tracks, but he also alerted on duty officers, known as spotters, to the situation.


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