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Police investigate ‘bounty’ on TV dog fighting investigator


POLICE IN Ireland are probing a sinister bid by dog fighters to unmask the brave BBC investigator who exposed Ulster's bloodthirsty dog-fighting gangs.

Anonymous defenders of dog fighting posted an offer of a ‘big reward’ on the online auction site eBay for information about the ‘true identity’ of ex-soldier 'Steve' who infiltrated the dog-fighting gangs for the BBC Panorama probe, which was screened in Northern Ireland under its ‘Spotlight’ programme.

The Irish newspaper Sunday Life said that it understood that English-based gangsters have placed a bounty on the head of 'Steve' because of his success in disrupting their lucrative criminal activities.

It's also believed Spotlight reporter Mandy McAuley, who confronted many of the thugs involved, has been told to keep a low profile after last Thursday's disturbing programmes.

After TV chiefs called the police, eBay removed the sinister posting about 'Steve'. A photograph of the undercover operative was also posted on the message.

A senior BBC source told the newspaper the organisation was concerned about the threat against one of its employees.

TV investigator 'Steve' had previously helped the Sunday Life newspaper to unmask 'devil-dog' dealer Gary 'Skivvy' McGivern.

The paper snared the convicted hijacker, fraudster and burglar during an undercover operation targeting gangs that bred banned Pit Bull Terriers for illegal dog-fights in 2006.

Along with one of Sunday Life’s reporters, Steve posed as a dog-fight organiser from England who wanted to buy a banned American Pit Bull.

After meeting McGivern, the newspaper reporters later purchased the dog for just £80. They then handed the six-week-old pup over to the USPCA to save it from the brutal life of a fighting dog.