icCoventry – Spies Like Us…
MANY people know Coventry’s Clive Owen was once asked to play James Bond, but not many people realise that we already have our own real-life spook in our midst. MUDD, ADRIAN MUDD talks to Coventry Times reporter RICHARD ASHMORE about his growing covert surveillance business and life as a private investigator…
OUR mission, should we choose to accept it, was to investigate the offices of one of the nation’s biggest surveillance equipment suppliers and private investigation firms. Adrian Mudd – a former detective for West Midlands police CID – was our contact on the inside at the unassuming premises of Steeple House, Percy Street, Coventry. Homing in on our target we reached his office where he – and a crack team of two – run one of the most successful spy supply businesses in the country.
Launched last year, Spy Equipment UK has already had a turnover of more then half a million and as its managing director Coventry-kid Adrian is the man in the know. Whether it’s secret cameras, tiny microphones, tracking devices or anti-bugging devices – he has it covered.
“I don’t really like James Bond that much, I prefer the more realistic shows like Spooks,” he said.
“I started Spy Equipment UK last year and have been running my private investigation firm – Mission Investigations – for the past seven. When I finished the police I came out and thought what could I do next? and so i decided to become a PI.”
Sitting at his desk Adrian explains what uses there are for the modern spy equipment.
“We have one customer who asked us for a tracking device because his 12-year-old daughter was going on a trip to France. He can monitor her wherever she is on the trip and the signal is relayed directly to us here. It sounds a bit drastic but these days – partly because of the media – people are worried about their children’s safety.”
“This might only be because we know more about things when they happen and they are given a high profile, but it does give parents piece of mind.”
“It’s accurate up to a few metres and the satellite image is updated every 15 seconds.”
As we ask more questions about what other devices Adrian’s company offers, his colleagues Richard and Amanda spring into life and reveal a host of other exciting gadgets.
“This is what we call a dead phone,” explains Adrian.
“We have had journalists who have used this, all you have to do is go in for an interview and pop the phone on the desk. It’s looks like it’s switched off but it actually has a very powerful microphone which you can pick up the signal and listen to anywhere in the world.”
Amanda brings out another innocuous looking device – which turns out to be a smoke detector fitted with a miniature camera and microphone.
“These days cameras can be as small as a pin prick,” said Adrian.
“In our PI work we have used them to get information for clients and for big organisations. You would be surprised how much big companies want to use this kind of equipment.”
Intrigued about his PI work – and becoming slightly uneasy about the feeling I’m being watched – I ask what kind of people ask for help.
“It can be anybody, we have worked with newspapers and big companies, and for both the rich and not so rich, one of the most interesting or strange jobs we ever did involved us catching a man having relations with his daughter-in-law, we caught it all on camera.”
“I have also done work in Northern Ireland, which was interesting. We did one job, but kept getting questioned all in all about three times, we realised it was probably the IRA so we got out of there.”
“I was also been trapped in a house with this one man, but luckily I managed to telephone the police and he eventually let me out.”
Adrian added that there were times when he has had to refuse his services.
“There was one bloke who wanted to order some equipment but it turned out it was to cheat in an exam,” he laughed.
For more information on Spy Equipment UK and Mission Investigations and to see what they offer, browse this site or visit: Mission Investigations.