FERRIS: IRA wanted me as their “barber”

For some reason I seem to think that a barber {in gangster / gangland terms} well,  is that not a hired killer?  I don’t know! I could easily be wrong!! If anyone can comfirm either way, please do!


IRA wanted me as their barber

FORMER hood Paul Ferris has sensationally revealed how he was once recruited by an IRA terrorist — to be his HAIRDRESSER.

Ferris had just arrived in a tough English nick on firearms charges when he was ordered to meet paramilitary ‘Mr Fixit’ Michael Gallagher in the prison’s exercise yard.

But he was stunned to learn grey-haired Gallagher — on remand for the 1994 Heathrow Airport bomb bid — wanted him to smuggle hair dye into the prison.

MICHAEL GALLAGHER

And he was even more surprised when the IRA man said he wanted Ferris to apply his favoured colour — bright orange. Amazingly, he pulled off the stunt, despite sparking a full-scale alert at the high-security jail.

 Last night Ferris, 46, joked: “I can technically lay claim to being someone who’s actually ‘dyed’ for The Cause.”

Glasgow-born Ferris — who had no connection to the IRA — had just been banged up in Belmarsh Prison, south-east London, when he had his first brush with the feared terror group in May 1997.

He was awaiting trial for firearms and explosives charges after being snared in a two year MI5 sting.

Fellow Glaswegian Gallagher, now 67 — a high-ranking member of the IRA in Scotland — was also on remand at Belmarsh. 

He had been arrested over the failed mortar raid on Heathrow three years earlier — accused of providing a car for the Provos who slipped into Britain for the attack.

Gallagher had also rented a garage used as a bomb factory by the men who fired four mortars on to the runway. But he was desperate to avoid a conviction — and believed dyeing his hair back to the same bright colour he’d sported on the outside would help his case.

Ferris explained: “I was informed by another prisoner that a member of the IRA wanted to speak to me in the exercise yard. I thought ‘Why are they interested in me? I’m not connected to them and never have been’.”

Undeterred, Ferris put his name down for prison exercise and, once in the yard, bumped into the softly-spoken Gallagher.

He said: “I walked around not knowing who or what I was going to meet when
a wee guy with grey hair started walking with me. He said ‘Hello Paul’ in a Scottish accent so I said ‘Hello’ back and he introduced himself as Michael.

“I made small talk as I waited for the IRA to come and see me. But after two or three laps I said ‘Look mate. I’m waiting to meet people. It’s better we separate’. “To my surprise he said, ‘I know. It’s me. I asked to speak to you’. “He said, ‘I want some hair dye as I’m on trial shortly and need to get my hair colour back to what it was before my arrest’.”

HM Belmarsh prison

One-time criminal mastermind Ferris was doubtful of smuggling a box of dye into the prison, before hitting on an answer — heavy duty woollen hill-walking socks. He told his fellow con how someone on the outside could use the material to absorb the dye and leave it to dry undetected. The colouring could then be secretly extracted later by soaking the wool in water. 

So Gallagher arranged for a contact to steep a pair of the socks and send them in — but Ferris was in for a shock when he saw the shade.

He said: “I was in Mickey’s cell and he produced two pairs of dark coloured socks containing the dye. Time was of the essence so I sat him down on the chair, filled the sink with tepid water and just dipped a sock into the water and started rubbing it on his hair.

Mickey had a head of grey hair and I never asked him what his natural colour was. He was head first in the sink when the water turned orange, the same colour as a fluorescent high visibility jacket.

I thought for a second and asked Mickey what colour his hair dye was and he replied ‘It’s OK, my wife got me it and it’s what I used before I was arrested’

I rubbed the sock into his hair thinking ‘This can’t be right’. The sink was bright orange — as was Gallagher’s hair — but I went on and did his fringe and eyebrows. I genuinely thought he would go absolutely mental. “But to my shock he stood up, looked in the mirror and said ‘Spot on Paul. Thanks mate’ — and shook my bright orange hand.”

However, Gallagher’s new barnet did not go unnoticed when he and Ferris turned up for a lags’ pool competition later that day.

Ferris said: “Gallagher had a head of bright fluorescent ginger hair so when he approached the desk for his pool cue, the screw did a double take. “Seconds later, an alarm bell sounded and the screws charged into our block shouting ‘Lock up your doors — NOW!’”

Ultimately, Gallagher’s disguise didn’t work — and he was caged for 20 years at Woolwich Crown Court in February 1998.

But Ferris added: “They never did find out how Mickey got his hands on the dye. “It was one of the funniest episodes of my time behind bars and I will never forget it.”

Ferris had been arrested by armed police after he was seen carrying a cardboard box full of weapons from the London address of a self-confessed gun dealer.

But reformed Ferris has now turned his life around and lives in the Ayrshire countryside with his devoted wife Carolyn, 31, and their family.

He agreed to speak out about his prison experiences as he battles to establish a rehabilitation programme for offenders.

PAUL Ferris was not paid for this interview.

https://www.thesun.co.uk/archives/news/563039/ira-wanted-me-as-their-barber/  https://archive.is/5DjN2

htrew.png

The Krays were just cute criminals.. but Paul Ferris was the real deal  4 Dec 2016

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