Gangs threaten reporters after crime exposés

Daily Record: “Vice in Scotland” campaign angered underworld bosses

Police in Glasgow are taking underworld death threats to journalists on Scotland’s two biggest-selling tabloids “very seriously indeed”.

The threats have been made to staff on the Daily Record and Sunday Mail by one of the city’s most notorious criminal gangs.

According to The Scotsman Strathclyde Police said the gangsters had taken “extreme exception” to the Sunday Mail’s high-profile “Crime Inc” campaign – which names and shames leading underworld figures – and “Vice in Scotland”, a Daily Record campaign exposing the sex industry.

The papers’ investigative reporters are accustomed to sporadic death threats from criminals but the specific nature of the warning from police this time has set alarm bells ringing.

Senior editorial executives on the Record and Mail were summoned to a detailed briefing by Strathclyde Police who spelled out that the death threats were of “grave concern” and staff should be extremely vigilant in both their work and private lives.

The threats come amid the outbreak of a vicious turf war between gangs fighting over the city’s lucrative drugs trade. One man has been shot dead, and three injured by gun wounds in three separate incidents.

A senior police source told The Scotsman: “Several main players are obviously throwing their weight around, and we take specific death threats made to newspaper staff very seriously indeed.”

Two detectives from Strathclyde Police’s Serious Crime Squad have briefed journalists on personal safety and handed out security leaflets.

It appears no death threats have been made directly to the journalists or their papers and police are acting on their own intelligence sources in the underworld.

Two years ago the same criminal gang threatened to take out a contract on a Record news reporter, forcing police to install a panic button in her home and offer 24-hour protection.

One of the reporters thought to have been targeted, who preferred not to be named, said: “Of course, we are very concerned because of the very precise nature of the police warnings.

“We are normally always very careful – particularly in making sure we are not followed home – although we have heard in the past that gangs have got their hands on staff lists with home addresses.”

A spokesman for Trinity Mirror, which owns both papers, said: “Death threats have been made against individual members of staff, but both newspapers remain adamant that this will not deflect them from exposing evil-doers.”

By Hamish Mackay

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