The BBC has dismissed one of its most experienced correspondents after discovering he was also a Hell’s Angel known as ‘Echo’ in his spare time, according to newspaper reports.
The Daily Mail says that Steve Jones, 51, who joined the BBC more than 20 years ago, was uncovered when he moonlighted at weekends as a spokesman for the Hell’s Angels and was recognised by colleagues.
According to the Daily Mail:
“He had a day job as a BBC journalist, reporting for both TV and radio.
“But in his spare time Steve Jones had a rather more exciting role - as leather-clad spokesman for the Hell's Angels.
“He was even interviewed in BBC reports using his Hell's Angel nickname 'Echo', criticising police for being heavy-handed at an annual bikers' festival.
“That was too much for the BBC bosses.
“They sacked him for breaching their code of conduct, which says journalists must disclose their interests and get permission before representing outside organisations.
“Mr Jones, 51, joined the BBC more than 20 years ago.
“As mid-Wales correspondent he was a regular on BBC Wales TV and Radio Wales and was said to earn more than £40,000 a year.
“His downfall came after he was interviewed by unsuspecting colleagues on Radio 4 and Radio 5 Live as a Hell's Angel speaking up for the 'brotherhood' and criticising the police.
“His distinctive voice was recognised by colleagues which led to an inquiry into his extra-curricular activities.
“Mr Jones was also interviewed on a television news bulletin wearing a Hell's Angel's badge as one of the organisers of last summer's annual 'Bulldog Bash' in the Midlands.
“Warwickshire police had called for the event at Long Marston to be called off after Hell's Angel Gerry Tobin was shot dead riding home two years earlier.
“Seven members of rival bikers the American Outlaws were jailed for life for his murder.
“The police were concerned about an increase in rivalry between the two groups.
“But Mr Jones hit back at Bill Holland, Warwickshire's assistant chief constable, who had called for a clampdown on the bikers.
“Identifying himself as 'Echo', Mr Jones said: 'In the UK, we're not organised crime - we're a brotherhood of bikers.
“The only thing we have in common isn't crime, it's bikes.'
“Mr Jones had previously annoyed BBC bosses by wearing a short-sleeved shirt on TV - showing off his tattooed arms.
“The father of two was on leave when he took on the role of unofficial press spokesman for the biking event.
“A BBC spokesman confirmed he had been dismissed after a disciplinary hearing.
“A BBC source added: 'Steve's a lovely bloke and an excellent broadcaster but he's a bit of a maverick.
“Being a BBC correspondent in the week and a Hell's Angel at the weekend doesn't sit well.'
“Mr Jones, who is understood to be appealing against the decision, declined to comment.
“A friend said: 'He believes he's done nothing wrong apart from carrying out the hobby he has had for years.'”
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