So on Monday 13th June 1977, at the tender age of 19, I had my own Butchers shop! You’d think I would have been pleased, but it didn’t seem the same without Roy. But business did pick up, I started doing things a bit different to how Roy had done them and it seemed to work. I started cooking whole chickens and selling them, three different types of sausage, two types of burgers, lots more cold meats. It seemed to work, takings went up by 20%.
I paid my rent each week, by cheque, to Roy’s solicitor in St Albans. Roy called a couple of times a week for the first month, asking how things were going and all in all it seemed to be working out ok. But as I say, it wasn’t the same without Roy.
I had a couple of visits from Gaz who was worried about Roy’s departure so quickly, but I told him what Roy had told me about having to move quick or they would lose their new house and he seemed to accept it. So did the Cousins. But they were concerned that he had left no forwarding address or number. I explained that their new house was indeed just that. Brand spanking new, not even a road name yet. But Roy assured me that he would contact them in the next couple of weeks.
Then it all kicked off.
The first to go was Trevor. Trevor was captured on his way home from work after doing his night shift at the Record warehouse. His house was raided and they found a few thousand records and tapes. Meads records and tapes was raided and closed. It never opened again!
Colin was next, his home was raided at dawn on Tuesday 16th August (in fact on the same day that Elvis died), and quantities of Luncheon Vouchers were seized. A small lock up in Bow was raided, containing a printing press and over half a million pounds worth of Luncheon Vouchers were found!
Then old Ken. Kens little corner shop was raided the same day, vouchers and coupons were seized along with 1000,s of pounds worth of groceries.
My phone never stopped ringing on that Tuesday, everyone wanted to get hold of Roy, where was he, had he been captured again as well, who else did I know that had been pulled in. All questions I couldn’t answer. I called Roy’s solicitor. He wouldn’t take my call. He was either on the phone, in court or with clients.
I began to think once again that I would be next. I went home that night convinced that Roy had been captured again and I was probably next.
The next day I decided to get into the shop very early, in case there was anymore news. I got there at 5.20am. Gaz’s car was parked outside. He was sitting in his car waiting for me, but was not alone. He had 2 very sinister looking guys with him. I had never seen them before.
All three of them followed me into the shop.
“Morning Gaz, you’re early, what’s happening?”
“Was hoping you can tell me ,Joe”
“Only the same as yesterday Gaz, Colin and a few others were all captured yesterday, that’s all I know”
“And Roy, what about Roy?”
“No idea, can’t get hold of him, he’s not called in days, maybe he’s been done as well”
“Did you speak with his Solicitor?”
“No, the fucker was busy all day, didn’t answer my calls!”
“Now look here Joe, this is serious, very serious. People are falling like fucking flies, the old bill know things, things they shouldn’t know, things they can’t possibly know, but they fucking do know. Which means that someone’s talking. When we find out who it is, we’ll fucking do em. Understand?”
There was real menace in his voice, one of the guys with him picked up one of the big steak knives and started throwing it from one hand to the other.
“Well I can tell you it aint me Gaz, surely you don’t think it’s me?”
“Lucky for you, I KNOW its not you, but Roy, I’m not so sure. Roy goes missing and then everyone gets captured. Doesn’t look good does it?”
“No way, Gaz, not Roy, he wouldn’t grass, no way”
“Well all I’m saying is, it don’t look good. So if he calls you, you fucking let me know straightaway, you understand Joe, straightaway. You call me the fucking minute you hear from him, and you tell him to fucking come and see me, we need to straighten this out”
Now I was scared, tried not to show it, but I was petrified. I knew Gaz and I knew what he was capable of. I was just glad that he didn’t think I was involved. But Roy, surely not Roy.
“Ok, Gaz, message understood. Have you heard from the cousins, what do they think?”
“They were captured at four o’clock this morning!”
Gaz and his two silent thugs left the shop. I went to the sink and threw up!
What the fuck was going on?
I started to work but couldn’t concentrate, Roy where the fuck are you?, I actually hope you’ve been arrested!
Just after 10.00am the phone rang. It was Roy.
“Morning mate, everything Ok?”
“Ok? You joking? No it’s fucking not OK. Everyone’s been captured, Colin, Ken, The Cousins, Trevor. All fucking taken, all of them. Where the fuck are you?”
“Calm down, calm down, what’s been said?”
“Gaz was here this morning, he aint happy, he thinks you’re a fucking grass”
“Bollocks, listen tell Gaz it’s nothing to do with me”
“No fucking way, you tell him, he wants you to get in contact straightaway”
“Ok, ok, I’ll call him later today, he’ll be fine”
Roy hung up.
I called Gaz just like I told him I would.
“ Gaz, its Joe. I just spoke to Roy, he’s going to call you later today, he said don’t worry its nothing to do with him”
“Thank fuck for that, ok, thanks for letting me know. I’ll speak with Roy and arrange a meet, we need to get to the bottom of this and find out who the grass is”
Roy never did call Gaz, or was too late, either way didn't matter.
Later that day Gaz was arrested as were another 28 people in East London, including Mr.Patel!
If I thought I was scared before, now I was terrified!