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Britain betrayed Monday, 13 September, 1999, 15:53 GMT 16:53 UK
The 'Romeo' spy
John Symonds: Former policeman who worked for the KGB
John Symonds is a former Scotland Yard detective sergeant.

Britain Betrayed
He is also a former KGB spy, ordered by his Soviet masters to seduce women working in Western embassies in order to obtain secrets.

Mr Symonds left the UK in 1969 under suspicion of corruption. He was approached by agents while in Morocco and eventually recruited in Bulgaria.

Honey trap

Given the code name Scot, he carried out his undercover operations between 1972 and 1980, missions for which he received special training.

"I was taught how to be a better lover," he told the BBC.

"Perhaps I wasn't a very good one before, I don't know. But it was very pleasant. I was taught by two extremely beautiful girls. That was quite an interesting part," he said.

As well as the information he gleaned from his conquests, Mr Symonds said the KGB was particularly interested in Scotland Yard officers who were corrupt or could be corrupted.

Mr Symonds said he gave his Soviet interrogators about 150 names.

Treachery confession 'ignored'

My Symonds, now aged 63, returned to Britain in 1980, gave himself up and served a two-year sentence for corruption.

One reason for his return was that the KGB had grown suspicious because Mr Symonds' actions were being completely ignored by the British security services.

Vasili Mitrokhin
Vasili Mitrokhin: Spy who came in from the cold
He was only recently revealed as a spy in the same documents which exposed great-grandmother Melita Norwood as one of the USSR's top Cold War spies.

The "Mitrokhin archive", smuggled to the UK by Russian dissident Vasili Mitrokhin in 1992, consists of several years' worth of KGB files.

But some time before British intelligence received the files, Mr Symonds admitted his treachery - and said that no-one seemed to care.

In an interview in 1985 with the Daily Express newspaper, he said the intelligence services had shown no interest in talking to him about his allegations.

The British authorities had apparently dismissed his story as a fantasy - unaware that it would be confirmed by a spy who would come in from the cold seven years later.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Video
The BBC's Alva McNicol: "His job was to sleep with employees of foreign embassies in order to extract secrets"
See also:

11 Sep 99 | UK
22 Jun 99 | UK Politics
14 May 99 | UK
13 Sep 99 | Britain betrayed
11 Sep 99 | Talking Point
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