Barney Shelton was an employee of Willie Piggott who passed on news to Emily Nugent when Ernest Bishop was arrested for offending against the public morality while on a photography job for Piggott in Spain in 1971. Dressed in a purple suit and brightly-coloured tie and shirt combo, Barney strutted into the Rovers and was taken through to the back by Annie Walker, where he informed her that Piggott had received a letter from Sheila Miller, one of Ernie's models, informing him of the charge. Ernie had taken Karen Spencer down to the beach to do shots of the hotel with Karen in a swimsuit. He was adjusting Karen's bra strap when the police swooped and misconstrued the situation.

Barney returned to the Rovers the next day full of his usual chat and Emily yelled at him to shut up and listen to her, causing Annie to look at her in shock mixed with admiration. She then tore a strip off him and his boss for causing these problems in the first place. Piggott paid for Emily to fly out to Spain to help Ernie but the flight was booked after pulling a few string and Barney told her to pose as member of the Denton Hatters Association. When her taxi arrived, he took her smaller bag out to the car, leaving Emily to struggle with the larger one.