CAUGHT IN THE CROSS HAIRS; THE ICEMAN UNMASKED: THE RISE (II) Somebody Watching
THE halogen glare of a street light outside the nondescript Amsterdam apartments looked like any other.
But the lamp post concealed a tiny video camera capturing every visitor arriving at Jamie Stevenson's Dutch bolthole.
The flat at 133 Berlaarstraat in the suburb of Nieuw Sloten was where Jamie Stevenson lived for three months during the summer of 2006 when police in Scotland were getting too close for comfort.
For months, the Amsterdam police had been secretly recording everyone coming and going from the Iceman's apartment, which was tucked in behind the main block.
One criminal justice source in Holland said: "On any job like this, you study the location, the terrain, and use what is there.
"There was a streetlight outside his flat and the police simply took the whole thing away and put in a replacement - identical apart from the small camera filming everybody coming and going.
"They bugged his phone too. He got a lawyer to apply for the transcripts through the courts here but, by then, it was all too late for Mr Stevenson."
The ingenious techniques deployed to gather intelligence on Stevenson's Dutch-based friends and business associates were only an extension of the massive surveillance offensive already underway by the police trailing him around the world.
The arsenal of covert and electronic surveillance methods available to modern law enforcers was targeted on Stevenson.
One source, with knowledge of the evidence against Stevenson and his cohorts, said the electronic surveillance operation was huge.
He said: "They had bugs in their homes, in their cars. Their phones were being tracked.
"They were basically in the cross hairs all day, every day, for years."
For obvious reasons, the Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency (SCDEA) refuse to discuss operational aspects of their surveillance campaign against Stevenson but sources describe the phenomenal array of methods used to gather intelligence on the gang.
Officers across the west of Scotland monitored the homes of Stevenson, Carbin and the other gang leaders.
They followed them on foot, on the road, in the air. They trailed them to the gym, to the shops, to their meetings.
Six months before his arrest, detectives became aware of an imminent sit-down with Stevenson and two key associates, Anthony Burnette and Willie Cross
At lunchtime on Wednesday, 15 March 2006, plainclothes officers followed Stevenson to the Holiday Inn, in Stewartfield, East Kilbride.
According to one source: "The three of them are sitting down in the hotel, discussing deals or whatever and never even look twice at a couple at the next table who are all lovey-dovey, hugging and winching.
"They were cops who listened as the three of them talked about buying this, buying that, pulling out architectural plans, moving money about, the lot.
"That's how tight they were on him and they were on him for months and months."
But the physical surveillance teams of officers on the ground were only a small part of the monitoring operation that would pull Stevenson's operation apart.
Electronic bugs and tracking devices were being used in the biggest intelligence-gathering onslaught ever launched by a Scots police force.
The SCDEA began intrusive surveillance against Stevenson and his gang at the launch of Operation Folklore in May 2003 - a campaign to bring the most ruthless and effective gangs in Scotland to justice. …