Norman Pilcher published the book Bent Coppers, where he reveals the hidden plot of the arrests, and admits the police hostility towards musicians in the ’60s.
Norman “Nobby” Pilcher became known to British rockers in the 1960s. Basically they loathed each other. Pilcher was an agent of the Metropolitan Police (MET), who in his fight against drugs, persecuted the musicians who were part of the movement Swinging London, the golden age of rock’n’roll in the late ’60s.
Now Pilcher has just published a book in which he admits that, at that time, there was a corrupt police plot which aimed to discredit rock musicians by relating them to the consumption of drugs. The intention was that they did not have as much influence on the young people of that time.
In his book, entitled Bent Coppers (Bent Coppers. The Story of the Man Who Arrested John Lennon, George Harrison, and Brian Jones), Pilcher uncovers a whole police plot, led by the British Home Office, which sought to arrest high-profile musicians in the 1960s, with the aim of dissuading young people from drug use.
Composer Lionel Bart and the singer Dusty Springfield They were among the first to fall due to this plan, when their apartment was searched and drugs were found. From there, according to Pilcher, “the Ministry pushed us to move on with more famous names.”
Thus, Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones, and Tubby Hayes, who was found heroin, continued on the list. But the most resounding moment was in October 1968 when Pilcher led the squad that broke into John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s apartment, where They found 220 grams of hashish.
the same John Lennon recounted that moment in an interview: “Suddenly, there was a knock on the door and a woman’s voice outside, and I looked around and saw a policeman at the window. We were in bed, half naked. Yoko ran to the bathroom to get dressed but sticking his head out, so they wouldn’t think he was hiding something. “
And he continued: “I told him to call the lawyer but he called Apple. And before the police arrived, he was already at the door. Daily Express. It was all a montage“.
Lennon recalled that they had already been warned that the police were behind them. “They are going to find you,” they had alerted him. “So three weeks before, trust me, I had cleaned the house, because Jimi Hendrix had lived there before, in the apartment, and I’m not stupid. I searched the whole house, but I didn’t check a glasses case where I was saving a piece of hash last year, “Lennon recounted.
In his book, Pilcher recalls that when he arrived at the apartment, he found the couple naked and, according to his account, was impressed by Lennon’s attitude. “His ideals of peace and kindness were expressed in his demeanor and attitude, which it was very humble“, He said.
Less peaceful, it seems, was the arrest of Dusty Springfield. “I had to ignore the foul language and their insults,” he says of the singer, who has pleaded guilty to the charges.
But there were more musicians hunted down and arrested by Pilcher. George Harrison and his partner, Pattie Boyd, also fell on the list. Small amounts of cannabis were found for both in their home in the English town of Esher.
Another musician who was arrested by Pilcher and his squad in those years, was the American Levi Stubbs, de los Four Tops, when he was staying at the Mayfair Hotel in London.
For all these episodes the cop earned the nickname “Groupie Pilcher”, since, by his agreements with the press, he always appeared in the photos of the arrests together with famous musicians. Pilcher further assures that never falsified or planted evidence in some of those operations.
However, in the biography, Pilcher denounces that in the police team with which he worked there was a lot of corruption. “An impeccable policeman in the end has to be stained if he wants to investigate, because London and the Met (the Metropolitan Police) were rotten and to walk on dirt, you have to be prepared.”
According to Pilcher, there was a curator, Robert Mark, who started this whole anti-rock move and, more than once, asked agents to falsify reports or perform illegal tasks in order to stop many musicians. “The more the merrier,” it said.
Finally, that corruption scheme was exposed, and after a trial, in 1973, Pilcher was found guilty of perjury and spent four years in jail. At first, the former cop says he felt no remorse for what he had done.