After The Storm. Iraqi Wrecks And Fortifications by Eric Micheletti

By Eric Micheletti

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The four gang members smirked amongst themselves, Hymie was justifiably concerned, and the other police officers looked furiously at Gosling, mutely condemning him for his impetuosity. Gosling was mortified and feared that his colleagues would call him a “clever boy”, which was exactly how his contemporaries in the CID office at City Road police station had referred to him, when he had presented himself there as a brand-new detective constable, thirteen years previously. It looked as though all was lost: after the infiltration of the gang, the hours of observations and the months of work, the gang leader had not even been arrested.

And therefore coupons – stolen, recycled or forged – were in enormous demand. So despite the cheerless surroundings of Percy Street, it was there that a criminal coup was planned during that afternoon; 250,000 forged industrial clothing coupons, worth two shillings each, were due to change hands. So perfectly forged were these coupons that their falsity could only be detected by the Board of Trade, by whom the genuine articles were issued. The plan was the culmination of months of work. Assistant Commissioner (Crime), Ronald Howe CVO MC had sent Detective Inspector Henry Clark and Detective Constable George Price to make enquiries in Nottingham, because it was believed that that northern city was the source of the forgeries; but Howe was wrong.

Catching the gang red-handed had been a tremendous coup. And now, thanks to Gosling’s informant who had successfully infiltrated the gang, they were all lined up in the charge room, with the exception of the leader of the gang who, the officers felt, could be tied into the rest of his associates with the minimum of fuss. There was one problem, however. To be on the safe side, the gang had decided on a dummy run – just in case. As Gosling opened their bag, he discovered to his horror that it contained nothing more than old newspapers.

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