ONE of the most gripping criminal inquiries ever handled in Dorset will feature in a “Real Crime” documentary coming soon.

Tesco bomber and blackmailer Robert Dyer wreaked havoc in the county in 2001 with explosive devices and threats to staff and customers of the supermarket chain.

The Daily Echo joined forces with police in an undercover operation to print secret coded messages, which eventually helped officers detain the 50-year-old father-of-two.

Now Tern TV, a company with bases in London, Scotland and Northern Ireland, has started filming in Dorset for the documentary, to be screened by ITV1.

Editor Neal Butterworth is due to be interviewed for the documentary and a film crew will also visit the Daily Echo newsroom.

Robert Dyer was jailed for 16 years in June 2001 after a six-month campaign of terror, which saw explosive devices sent to Tesco customers and threats to kill customers at random.

Dyer, of Caroline Road, Kinson, was demanding that credit-card-style loyalty cards were distributed to thousands of people through the Daily Echo.

All would be capable of being used in cashpoint machines, but Dyer would be the only one to know the PIN number and would therefore be able to withdraw unlimited cash in transactions of £1,000 a time.

The blackmail case was not the first time Dyer had hit the headlines.

Eight years earlier his wife had died in mysterious circumstances at their home.

An inquest concluded Dyer suffered a heart attack as his wife strangled herself with a ligature after they had both been drinking.

The Daily Echo’s involvement in the blackmail case included printing messages through the personal ads and coded messages in “advertisements” designed to look like word-searches.

Police did not reveal the exact circumstances which led to Dyer’s arrest but said the Daily Echo had played a major part in solving the crime.

After the case, in which Dyer pleaded guilty to nine counts of blackmail and one of common assault, Detective Chief Inspector Phil James said: “The fact that this part of the operation proved successful and remained confidential does prove that trust can operate between the police and the media.

Dorset Police would like to place on record their thanks for the assistance provided by the Daily Echo.”

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