Exposed: The Ex Met Police snapper’s website offering “cash for celeb scoops” to public officials

Matt Sprake: Trying Out the PM’s chair in the Cabinet Room in the 1990s while on the Met Police pay roll. Pic courtesy his Facebook page

Given the Leveson Inquiry is in full swing  can  you imagine this appearing on  a website supplying the national media – from the People to the Press Association?

” Do you know of a story, a scandal, something that made you interested, chances are that a newspaper will pay for that information.  Do you know where a prominent person is living or what they get up to, is a celebrity having an affair that you know of, do you know anyone who’s on reality TV?  You can earn yourself good cash now by calling 01277 (deleted) 24 hours a day and remember, nobody ever needs to know it was you that told us!

All sorts of people have been paid thousands of pounds by us for giving information that leads to a picture being sold or a story being written, are you a doorman, police worker, civil servant, probation officer, prison officer, nurse?  Make some extra money without anyone ever knowing…

Never go direct to a newspaper, come to us, it’s what we do, we are better positioned to get you much more cash. ”

The full story  on this is available  at http://www,exaronews.com   and on the Independent at http://ind.pn/M48suc. Since the disclosure the website has been rapidly redesigned and the page taken down but the website page is captured on the exaronews.com website.

Part of his agency’s website is devoted to its “surveillance photography”, offering a menu of services, including “covert foot follows”, “covert vehicle follows” and ”remote technical surveillance”.

“You can utilise the very same skills that are used by the security services and the police,” clients are promised.

“Our surveillance team has worked for and been trained by various police and government surveillance agencies within the UK. If you need it photographed without being seen, we are your experts.”

So what is the  explanation of the managing director  of  http://newspics.co.uk ,  ( one Matt Sprake, whose company is owned by his wife, Marion, described in her Companies House return as a banker.

According to him  the wording on his agency’s website was “just advertising” aimed at the “general public”.

He said that he would have removed it by now but for the fact that his website is “broken” and cannot be edited because the company that created it went bust.

“We are in the final stages of a company redesigning our website,” he said. “If there was a way of changing it, believe me, I would.” That seems to have  happened remarkably quickly after  the story was published.

On the social-media website, Myspace, he puts his income at between £100,000 and £150,000 a year.

Sprake continued: “I used to work for a specialist department at the Met in Scotland Yard looking, basically, at terrorism work. The level I was working at involved very covert stuff.

“I got out after 10 years. You are limited on the number of years you are allowed to do, so I am now doing other work. But I have still got all that training that is very handy to have.”

He also claimed his staff adhered to the Press Complaints commission code and his site promised to do surveillance work which would be covered by the Code.

The PCC were not so impressed – a spokesperson pointing out the code covered editors of papers not agency photographers.

I tried to contact Trinity Mirror publisher of The People- whose editor has already given evidence to Leveson . Their pages are all over his website including the page offering cash to public officials. But answer came there none.

One cannot  wonder why the reputation of the media is at such a low with such behaviour. If Sprake is telling the truth, it seems to me the height of folly and hubris  in these troubled times to put this on a website. If he is not this is exposing something else that is not particularly savoury and very worrying for ethical standards in the media and the people who are supplying him.

7 thoughts on “Exposed: The Ex Met Police snapper’s website offering “cash for celeb scoops” to public officials

  1. “Photo Courtesy of his Facebook”!… That’ll be you stole it then!!! Oops.. Somebody’s gonna be in trouble Mr Hencke

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  2. Hmmm Judiths comment is quite interesting, Why would you steal a picture Mr Hencke? does that not now make you as bad as you allege Mr Sprake to be? And i am confident if i were to dig i will find something somewhere that will embarrass you!!!!!!

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    • Greg,Judith

      no it doesn’t. His Facebook page is an open site showing his latest stories and was not closed to friends and families – where it would have wrong to take it.
      Also before the story appeared at http://exaronews.com I talked to him and raised his access to Downing Street when he was a police photographer. It was quite clear where I was going.

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  3. Mr hencke, from what you are saying, you gained permission from this Mr Sprake to use his facebook pictures? I have briefly looked at copyright rules and it appears that whomsoever clicks the button owns copyright to a picture unless they expressly sign this off to another, i further examined facebook, and a person may add their pictures to their own page/timeline, facebook still does not own the copyright to their pictures statuses etc, facebook may have a non exclusive non transferable right to them, but does that really entitle you to broadcast and publish them? Courtesy of facebook? if I were Mr Sprake, I would certainly be looking at bringing some action against you, as I would be confident that you do NOT have any document in hand that permits you to reproduce facebook content, neither do you have any document from facebook stating they have allowed you courtesy to someones pictures? Do you?
    I dont want to appear wrong here or on the side of wrong doers, however Mr Hencke, have you really been thorough here? People like Mr Sprake (and yourself) produce material that sells newspapers etc, where is the evidence that he has done wrong? something on his website? he says was beyond his control, I own a website, I have a webmaster and we were at loggerheads once and he put something unfair on my page, i couldnt change it, so theres an understandable arguement on his part, and i ask Mr Hencke have you never done anything to get a story? Sorry but it seems like your story is quite desperate

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