A quick word from Johnny about “London Boy” the feature film….
Just a few words to let you know that our director Lee Hutcheon and I have been busy writing the script for our forthcoming movie “LONDON BOY.” It’s coming along so well that we doubt we will have to go beyond second draft stage. We’re managing to get as much of the storyline in as possible by using VO (Voice Over). Lee’s vast experience has been paramount in getting this story over without having to alter change or cut bits out. Yet still keeping the momentum as a fast paced action movie. Our aim is to bring the script down to about 96 – 98 pages, that amount should give the audience near on the full story without having to cut too much out.
Betrayal of the worse kind
As I wrote last week that I was grassed on when involved in the counterfeit business. I also mentioned that it was more than just being grassed on because a geezer I classed as a best friend shopped me. So the word I prefer to use in this instance is betrayal, which is more fitting for what he done to me.
Those of you that have read the first half of my autobiography “DUNPECKHAM” I explain in brief detail what happened. But now I am writing a weekly blog, I am able to write and explain in more detail about the person who blabbed on me to the old bill in the hope to save his own neck.
Before I name and shame this geezer, I would first like to tell you how we first became friends. During my time as a gangster, there were times when I tried to live the life as a law-abiding citizen. It was during one of these times I was working as a cab driver in a place called Brockley, which is located in South London. At that time I was married with two children and my then wife would continuingly nag me to go on the straight and narrow. So cab driving came my way of earning a wage to support my family. I had my regular punters who I would ferry all over London and one in particular was an old lady who had a troublesome son. Over the months she got to know me very well and visa-versa. She knew of my past because of my reputation in the criminal fraternity. She herself had married a gangster but left him because of his womanising and his heavy-handed attitude towards her.
She worked at the horse racing courses being in charge of the catering at the after race functions.
There were occasions when her son Nigel would help her at these functions. His reasons for working with his mother were not entirely honourable. He knew that at these functions there were people with connections to the English gentry.
I would regularly take his mother to the racecourses and wait for her to bring her back home. So all in all taking her to work turned out to be a nice little earner for me. She always tipped me very well and would pass on many a tip for a sure thing winner. She mentioned to me on one occasion that there had been a few break-ins at the homes of the gentry while they had been attending the racecourse. At first I took no notice of what she was saying and put it down to a one off. Then there was this one time when she told me of a Lord of the manor who had his home cleared out of exquisite antique jewellery. Though I was leading a straight life, I still dabbled with the odd bit of buying and selling. This lady’s son Nigel found out of my past through his mother and made a point of calling a cab one night. The thing was he didn’t want anyone else to pick him up, only me. I thought it was because I took his mother all over the place and that’s why he asks for me.
However, when I turned up to pick him up, he ask me to come inside his house to wait while he got ready. Because I charged waiting time, it was no skin off my nose sitting in his house to wait for him to get ready. While I’m there sipping my cup of coffee he tells me that he had heard of me through the grapevine and that I could be trusted. At that moment I knew from my gut instinct the reason for being there wasn’t to take him on a cab journey, but something more sinister.
So he starts going round the houses with chitchat until I stopped him in his tracks by asking what it was he wanted from me?
He ask me if I was able to price and then sell a bit of Tom’ (Jewellery) I don’t just say yes to anyone when it comes to something like that. After all I didn’t know the geezer that well apart from when he went to work with his mother. So I said to him that it depended on what he had and where it came from and even then there was no guarantee I’ll be able to do business with him.
He then disappears from the room and returns with a bulging silk scarf with a tied knot holding the contents inside. He laid it on a coffee table and opens it up to reveal a bunch of emerald and ruby stoned necklaces, along with diamond rings, gold sovereigns, solid gold chains and a gold pocket watch collection.
I have to be honest my eyes lit up as I looked upon such a haul and as I examined the goods I asked him why he had approached me? He told me it was because of my reputation of being a sound geezer and all. My next questions were who he had spoken to about me because for all I know he could have spoken to the wrong people. I still had my enemies who would have liked nothing more than to get me nicked and banged up. But when he told me apart from his mother he had only spoken to one person who happened to be a good trusted pal of mine, I felt at ease.
I didn’t need to be Einstein to know that these goods had been taken from the posh toffs homes while they were at the races. My other question was, did his mother know about what he had been up to? He assured me his mum knew nothing of what he had done. He went on to tell me that he had been doing these burglaries with another geezer. I asked him if he had told his partner that he was going to approach me about getting shot of the goods. Again he assured me that his partner knew nothing of his plan to approach me.
I don’t usually do business with strangers basically because you have no idea where it could lead. Most professional criminals only deal within their own circles or by way of recommendations from known trusted parties.
Anyway, cut to the chase I done the business for Nigel and in return he gave me a nice bit of commission. That was the start of our friendship not only socially but also professional.
As I already said I had done straight work just to appease my wife and have a quiet life. But when someone gives you a bag of tom worth thousands asking if you can shift it, that quiet life seems to go out the window.
What I didn’t like about Nigel was that he was a burglar of houses; this type of criminal activity I detested. The big mansions where the occupants were insured up to the eyeballs were one thing. But the council tenant or middle class families home were totally out of bounds in my book. I have done many things when I was active as a criminal but I have never done any of the above purely out of principle. I have been burgled myself and it was a horrible experience to go through, so I know how it feels to be on the receiving end. I stuck to warehouses and factories where there was a lot more on offer than there was rifling through someone’s knickers draw.
Nigel had used his mums’ job to collect info on the Lords and Ladies. For instance when they would be away for their holidays or in some cases just away for the day. He would then break in and steal the expensive stuff such as tom and antiques etc.
Over the coming months I saw a lot more of Nigel because he was a good laugh to have around; a real likeable geezer with a great sense of humour.
Over the coming months I introduced him to the firm I worked with and brought him along on some of the work we done. The other guys seemed to like him because he wasn’t a know it all and done as he was told when it came to it. After a few years of us getting together I took him on some really serious work. But unbeknown to me at that time once he got his share of the loot he became a liability. It wasn’t that he was shouting his mouth off about what he had just done. It was what he was doing with his share. A fine example was he’d go out and buy a top of the range sports car or buy half a dozen Armani suits. Doing that sort of thing draws attention to you from the old bill.
Any work we done, we would always keep a low profile afterwards mainly by not associating with each other. The law were not fools and would often send plain clothes undercover officers into our watering holes (pubs etc). After all they knew we were at it and knew where we drank, ate and who we socialised with. We would do our best to keep our working team members apart from each other. The only time we were together was when we were working; it had to be like that otherwise we’d end up all getting nicked.
But as I said Nigel was hanging around with me and once the snide money came on the scene I involved him. Not at first because I was asked by my pal who got me in on it not to involve anyone else. But when the main counterfeiters got arrested I was up in Suffolk awaiting a buyer to collect a parcel. When the buyer’s courier never showed up I contacted my pal back in London. I was asked to stay on another night because there was a bit of a problem. The next day there was no show of the courier nor could I get in contact with my pal. I ended up contacting my pal’s relative to ask what had happened to him. It was then that I was told it had all come on top and not to bring the snide money back to London. It wasn’t too long before I found out that they had all been nicked and I got told to do what I liked with the parcel I had in my possession. I remember the words clearly “Spend, spend and spend”
So there I was with a small fortune sitting in a hotel room in Suffolk not knowing what to do. Nigel knew nothing until I rang him and arranged for him to meet me in Southampton.
I had booked myself into a nice hotel and waited for Nigel to turn up. Once he got to me he saw the amount of cash I had and he nearly fainted. I told him I had a choice, burn the lot or work a way of getting rid of it. He was dead against burning them and was willing to go to work with them. Remember these notes were pucker; it was impossible to tell the difference between them and the real ones.
By this time in my life I had developed a drug habit while in Brixton prison for two crimes I was completely innocent of. Cut to the chase I got the charges dropped through lack of evidence and got released along with a drug problem. Most of this story on how drugs became part of my life is in my autobiographies, so I won’t go into detail in this blog.
I pulled off a corker of a deal while in Southampton when I purchased quite a lot of cocaine from a dealer using the snide notes. The drugs I bought were for me, so that I had enough to keep me going without going through cold turkey. (This was a time when I hated myself for allowing myself to get hooked on class A substances. That hatred I felt of myself is also explained in my book.)
Nigel and I then arranged to go on a spending spree all along the south coast. We had acquired a dodgy car, false plates and tax disc. We went on a crazy spree all along the south coast of England. When we got to the Isle of Wight I decided to pop over on the ferry to visit my mum and dad. They had recently moved there after the race riots that took place in London. Where they lived in Peckham, the place I was born and bred was no longer a safe place to live. They opted to go as far south as possible to get away from all the craziness that was happening at that time.
When I appeared at their door, my mother was shocked at my appearance. I had lost so much weight from taking the drugs that it noticed big time, she was no ones fool yet I told her I had been ill with yellow-jaundice.
We hit the Island big time with the snide notes and within a couple of days I don’t think there was one shop left that hadn’t had one.
When I think back to those days, there I was doing what all those mugs were doing back in London. Here I was passing snide notes over counters knowing if I got caught on one, I’ll get caught for the lot. Perhaps it was because I had lost all my self-esteem or I just didn’t give a fuck anymore.
There is a missing gap in this blog about how I was actually feeling mentally about myself. But if you want to know all about that part of my life, then it would be best to order “Dunpeckham” and read all about it. For me, it’s still a very painful process to write about that phase in my life.
I am at that point where I will have to leave it here for this week and will continue this remarkable story next week. There is some great stuff to come, stuff that will have you sitting on the edge of your seat wondering how the hell I got through it all. You know what, I still ask myself that very question everyday. Yet here I am writing it all down years later, so there must be a purpose to my life because if there wasn’t I’ll be six foot under by now.
Till next week.