Undercover: Operation Julie - The Inside Story
UK #1 Bestseller on Numerous Occasions & Now to Be a Feature Film
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More About This Title Undercover: Operation Julie - The Inside Story


Now soon to be made as a feature film. Screenplay written and a casting director is currently in talks with box-office actors for the lead roles.

A frank memoir of a famous UK undercover police operation - Operation Julie - that has acquired almost mythical status in British social culture.

It is told in a compelling manner by one of the four undercover cops attached to what was de facto a unique national drug squad.

It has sold consistently well since first publication achieving an Amazon #1 Bestseller ranking on numerous occasions.


Stephen Bentley is a former police Detective Sergeant, pioneering undercover detective, and barrister (trial attorney) from the UK now living in the Philippines.

He is now a freelance writer and occasional HuffPost UK contributor on undercover policing and mental health issues.


5 Stars Amazon.com 'A Vivid Insider Account.'

This account of an historic police investigation that led to the breakup of a massive LSD manufacturing and distribution operation in 1970s Britain is told in brilliant, first-hand detail by author Stephen Bentley, one of the undercover cops who lived it. Operation Julie, as it was called, was a 2-1/2-year investigation that culminated in 1977 with the breakup of two drug rings, 120 arrests in France and the UK, and the confiscation of a £100 million worth of LSD. For readers who tend to think the drug war begins and ends in North and South America, this book is a real education, filled with unique characters and “you are there” accounts of what many have characterized as the opening salvo in the War on Drugs. It is almost like three books in one, the first being the author’s personal narrative of Operation Julie and its aftermath; the second a tutorial on the ins and outs of undercover police work; and the third a meditation on the legalization of drugs. Although the three themes are interwoven throughout, there are discrete sections dedicated to each topic. I would especially recommend this book to anyone in law enforcement, as it provides insight that only an “old pro” could deliver, but the general reader will also find this story interesting, informative, and entertaining. Bentley is a real raconteur, and he relates his experiences--going all the way back to his day as a ‘beat cop’—in short, punchy, vignettes. Some are funny, some are frightening, but they are all marked by the kind of vivid details that could only come from someone who was there. The scenes of 1960s and ‘70s Liverpool, London, and Wales come alive in brilliant snapshots—so much so that I wish the author would write a full-blown memoir of that unique era that took Britain from the Merseybeat to punk rock. At heart, this is a deeply personal story, and the author lays it all out on the line, from his death-defying exploits as “Steve Jackson,” hippie drug dealer, to his clashes with the law enforcement establishment and his long struggle to return to a normal life. A fascinating read.

4.0 out of 5 stars The UK's Donnie Brasco; A must read
2 October 2016
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
Author Stephen Bentley taught me something new from the beginning:
I thought Llandewi Breffi was a fictitious Welsh village made famous by the comedy series Little Britain as the home of the The Only Gay in the Village.
Imagine my surprise when I discover it was at the centre of the biggest police drugs sting of the 70s – named Operation Julie after one of the police officers on the squad.
It’s a fast-paced true story of a young officer (Bentley) just cutting his teeth as a detective when he is asked to sacrifice everything to assume a new name, personality and friends in order to infiltrate a drug network which had spread its tentacles worldwide.
He and a fellow officer assume hippy appearances, living and sleeping out of a shabby van with a cover story that they are searching for a lost relative.
Pretty soon they are popular members of the community, with Stephen getting particularly close to a colourful character called Smiles, one of the leading dealers and distributors of LSD in the UK. And though there is humour in places, the underlying current of fear and danger is never far away
The final impression is of a man who thrived on the adrenaline of the occasion, but found it difficult to adjust once it was over and has carried the scars of those early days for the rest of his life. In the army they call it Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, but only in the present day is it recognised as an illness.
Now living happily in the Philippines, Bentley’s chief regret is the fact the brilliant work done by the original investigation was wasted as the Julie force was quickly disbanded and the leading lights allowed to drift away, taking their insider knowledge and valuable experiences with them.
The author feels a national drug squad should have resulted and might have solved many of the social problems we see around us today. It is hard to disagree.
Overall, it is a story of humanity. Stephen doesn’t judge but tells it like it is, and still has a deep affection for Smiles, one of those jailed as the result of his actions. I highly recommend this book to those who wish to read about the UK’s equivalent to Donny Brasco.

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