Detective Sergeant Pilcher had a penchant for fucking with rockers. In the late 1960s, he became famous for framing several of the UK music scene’s biggest names for drug possession. By 1968, Pilcher conducted raids on Mick Jagger, Eric Clapton, Brian Jones, and John Lennon – the latter of whom was tipped-off by a journalist prior to the raid, giving the Beatles star the time to clear his house of drugs. Following the failed drugs bust, the Detective Inspector became the subject of controversy and was given a stern telling off from Scotland Yard. But Pilcher was never one to be fooled twice, so he organised a raid on the Escher home of George Harrison on a day when the house was likely to be empty: Paul McCartney’s wedding day.
Remembering the raid in Anthology, Harrison said: “They chose Paul’s wedding day to come and do a raid on me, and to this day I’m still having difficulty with my visa to America because of this fella. He [Pilcher] came out to my house with about eight other policemen, a policewoman and a police dog, who happened to be called Yogi – because, I suppose, of the Beatle connection with Maharishi. They thought they’d have a bit of fun. They took us off, fingerprinted us and we were busted”.
In order to make sure they were able to make a charge, Pilcher took a large chunk of hashish with him to the Harrison’s Surrey Bungalow, Kinfauns. On arrival, they searched the house, later claiming to have found the substance in one of Harrison’s shoes. As George said in the days after the raid: “I’m a tidy man. I keep my socks in the sock drawer and stash in the stash box. It’s not mine.”
As Pilcher had planned, George wasn’t in Kinfauns that day. He was at Apple, about to set off for McCartney’s wedding reception. However, just before he was due to leave, he recieved a phone call from his wife Pattie. As The Beatles’ publicist, Derek Taylor, later recalled: “Pattie rang and said, ‘They’re here – the law is here,’ and we knew what to do by then. We phoned Release’s lawyer, Martin Polden. We had a routine: he came round to Apple, and we all went down by limousine to Esher, where the police were well ensconced by then – and I stood bail for George and Pattie. hey went off to the police station. We were all extremely indignant because it was the day of Paul’s wedding, a poor way to celebrate it. The police can be so nice.”
Indeed, Pilcher’s decision to conduct the raid on the day of McCartney’s wedding meant that the groom himself was the only member of The Beatles to be present for the ceremony. Well, Lennon was actually preoccupied with his own private wedding ceremony, and both he and McCartney had made a point of not inviting any of their bandmates. In fact, Harrison was the only Beatles member McCartney invited personally, owing to the fact that he had been best-man at Harrison’s own wedding. Alas, it wasn’t to be.