21 May 2006

Scap spied at seaside resort

Sunday Life

21 May 2006

Outed IRA spy Freddie 'Stakeknife' Scappaticci has been making frequent visits to a secret bolt-hole in PORTRUSH.

But his regular trips to the seaside resort have sparked a bitter war of words within the Security Services.

Furious MI5 officials have berated the Ministry of Defence after the former IRA 'nutting squad' boss and top Army agent moved into the seaside town.

Sunday Life has learned that Scappaticci, currently being investigated by the Stevens Inquiry, the Police Ombudsman and the PSNI in relation to various offences including murder, has been using the Co Antrim resort for rendezvous with family members.

He has been flying into various airports, but MI5 are said to be 'livid' and fear a Denis Donaldson-style assassination bid by disgruntled IRA members.

Scap has been spotted in Portrush on a number of occasions in recent weeks, by both police officers and by members of the public.

One Belfast man on a day trip to the town with his family said he couldn't believe his eyes when he saw Stakeknife "walking along the promenade as if he hadn't a care in the world."

He added: "I thought it was stupid. He was along with a woman and there were other people there too."

There have been other sightings of the IRA's most wanted man in the town in recent weeks.

Scap has been living between Manchester, where he has relatives, and the Italian town of Cassino, where his father came from.

He has also been sighted holidaying in the Canary islands.

But it is his weekend trips to Portrush which has set alarm bells ringing inside MI5.

A senior security source told Sunday Life: "It is utter madness for Scappaticci to even consider visiting Ireland, never mind Portrush.

"He may have thought he could melt into the background in what is an overwhelmingly unionist town but his face is so recognisable.

"MI5 are very unhappy with his frequent visits there and have made their feelings clear to the Ministry of Defence who are Scap's spymasters."

The top republican, who once struck fear into IRA active service units, was paid £80,000-a-year for passing on republican secrets to the British.

However he has been linked to up to 40 murders during his time as an agent and his role in killing IRA members ? many of whom were not informers ? has led to a number of police investigations.

Families of several Provos killed by Scap have also been demanding an internal IRA inquiry, which has been resisted by the group's ruling Army Council.

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