Campaigners demanding an inquiry into police violence at Orgreave in Yorkshire during the 1984-5 miners' strike are hailing a breakthrough after a police officer wrote to an MP saying he was "appalled" at police behaviour there.
The officer was part of the police operation in which pickets were attacked by cavalry and baton-wielding foot officers.
Such was his disgust at police actions that he asked to be withdrawn from picket-line duty.
The letter was sent to Labour MP for Wansbeck in Northumberland and former NUM president Ian Lavery.
Mr Lavery was himself arrested "several times during the strike."
He said the officer, who signed the letter but is not being named, wrote: "I was appalled at the conduct of a number of officers, generally members of the Metropolitan Police who we described as 'the Banana Squad' - all bent and yellow."
He said other officers at the time shared his views.
Mr Lavery said: "Put simply, the officer was active during the miners' strike and did not enjoy what was happening. He was on the picket line and was very unhappy."
The letter has been welcomed as a breakthrough by the Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign, which was launched in November in Sheffield, South Yorkshire.
The so-called Battle of Orgreave took place at a coke depot outside Rotherham, where thousands of pickets were directed by police into a containment area.
Once they were gathered, police cavalry mounted an unprovoked attack followed by baton-wielding officers on foot.
Miners were battered and beaten as they fled. The miners retaliated.
BBC TV news notoriously reversed the sequence of events, presenting the miners attacking first and police retaliating.
More than 90 miners were charged with rioting. Courts threw out the charges after defence lawyers proved collusion over police evidence.
No officers were ever charged with any offence.
Orgreave Truth and Justice campaign secretary Barbara Jackson welcomed the letter to Mr Lavery.
"I see this as a breakthrough," she said. "Obviously we are pleased that very slowly the truth is coming out.
"I don't know what persuaded him to break ranks, but the fact is that we are pushing forward on a number of broad fronts and we are reaching out to more people."
At the next campaign meeting in January the group will consider making a public appeal for more officers to come forward.
"If some of them have guilty consciences and thoughts, we need to think of offering them a way to come out," she said.
South Yorkshire Police has referred itself to the Independent Police Complaints Commission over its role at Orgreave.
The campaign has prompted calls for an investigation into police actions across the country during the strike.
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