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Real Spy Equipment, Real Spies

Adrian Mudd   June 26, 2008

When you imagine a spy shop, you imagine James Bond fans, but spy shops cater to real life spies to as recent stories in the press suggest. A spy shop may be something most people think belongs in the world of movies. The idea that there could be a real life Bond-style Q who manages a spy shop filled with surveillance equipment and counter-surveillance gadgets may seem far fetched. But the reality is, there is a demand for spy equipment and gadgets, not just from aspiring secret detectives and spies, but from real life spies and double agents.

Real Spy Equipment, Real SpiesThe Litvinenko Story

The case of the exiled former KGB and FSB agent Alexander Litvinenko was a tragic one, but his story captured the imaginations of people all over the world. His story was in many ways a real life Ian Fleming adventure. It proved that spy shops actually do cater to real life international spies. But the relation of real spies to fantasy is a close-linked one. It could be dubbed the James Bond effect, but it seems real life spying trigger the creative juices.

Real Life Spies

In the case of Litvinenko, the LA Times quoted him as asking his friend and filmmaker Andrei Nekrasov to tell the world his story. In November 2006, in London’s University College Hospital, he told him: ‘If anything should happen to me, I beg you to show this tape to the whole world’. Real life spies still have a strong role to play in various countries security services, working for the government and army. The idea they shop to pick up the latest gadgets may not be too far from the truth although most customers that use spy shops, such as Spy Equipment UK, tend to be those eager to install surveillance and security equipment to safeguard homes or businesses, not regimes and governments!

Poisoned by Polonium

As a result of Litvinenko’s friendship with the filmmaker, a documentary has since been made: Poisoned by Polonium: The Litvinenko File’. The film follows the story of the former KGB employee who rebelled against the Russian regime. Nekrasov had been making a film about Russians rebelling against the Putin regime when Litvinenko took ill. He told the LA Times: ‘It was shocking…It was really kind of physically shocking. He was changing [in appearance] every few hours. Knowing that it was not a natural disease but a vengeance for his politics — that really made it worse. Somebody killed for his beliefs is something you read in books’. The story captured the imaginations of people all over the world, spy shops, spy gear, spies and espionage don’t just belong in the pages of books.