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Thompson’s Lost Plimsole

Part 34

Gordon Cringe, cousin of the Dray twins, was still bent on exacting some sort of revenge on Billy Nutmeg for getting him the sack from his job backstage at the theatre. No-one had seen Billy for the last few days, well, no-one in Hallifield. However, in Southampton he’d made a big impression on everyone who met him, as he’d been found wandering naked around the city centre. The fall from the theatre ledge onto the back of the lorry bound for Southampton, two hundred and sixty miles away, wearing only his silk dressing gown and in the pouring rain, had left him concussed and hyperthermic. Unable to explain to the local police who he was or where he had come from, meant that he would have to be detained for his own safety. It was only whilst he was recuperating in the Southampton Union Infirmary, that one of the nurses, who had recently moved down from Sheffield, realised who he was. She had seen Billy on stage numerous times and had loved his comedy turns. She especially liked the act where he came onstage as an argumentative drunk who tried to pick a fight with his own reflection in a full-length mirror. Of course, to his audiences he was a star who had them in fits of laughter. To some of those who really knew him, he was a bully, and back at Hallifield, Gordon Cringe had just added another nail to Billy’s coffin. Gordon still had friends working at the theatre and he had arranged for certain items to be extracted from Billy’s dressing room. The relocation of these items would really bring Billy down another peg and make him question his own sanity.

There was high excitement at the isolated farm as the last of the safety deposit boxes was broken open. The whole of the gang stood back from the table and marvelled at the unimagined riches that lay before them. Donald and Derek Dray, Charlie ‘The Sledgehammer’ Bolton, Little Jackie Fanshaw, Shamus ‘Knuckles’ Malone, Davy ‘Blaster’ Robinson, One eyed Cyril Bickerdyke (known locally as the Cyclops), Barry ‘The Brain’ Utterthwaite, (not brainy at all but handy with his fists) and Lenny ‘The Fence’ Price. The four lads who had dug the tunnel were absent, but they had all been handsomely paid for their efforts and knew the consequences of opening their mouths to the authorities.

Lenny had contacts in London’s Hatton Garden and once the jewellery was broken down for its stones and precious metals it would be untraceable. The only piece of jewellery that wasn’t going to be disposed of was the gold and ruby ring on which Donald Dray had staked his claim. Barry ‘The Brain’ had also staked his claim on an item, the collection of photographs of ladies in various stages of undress removed from the assistant manager’s safe.

When the Bank’s Head of Security finally arrived armed with the keys to open the door to the deposit box vault, the sight that confronted them as the door swung open made them all gasp. Every single door to each of the deposit boxes was open with the internal boxes missing. The Head of Security turned to Mr Scroop, “This will severely damage the reputation of the Duckworth banking chain. As soon as the news of this robbery gets out to the press, I can guarantee that our customers will desert us in their droves”. The questions from the Head of Security were now coming so thick and fast that the Manager could only mumble his vague excuses for the supposed lack of security at his branch. How had the thieves obtained the necessary keys, how had they obtained the codes to the alarm system, how had nobody heard the explosion, where had all of the soil from the tunnel gone, how had the crooks managed to get rid of the tons of soil and rubble without anyone noticing anything suspicious? All that Mr Scroop could do was to hang his head in shame. He’d been a trusted employee of this bank for over forty years and would soon be retiring, or, as he suspected might be the ultimate outcome of this nasty business, that his services would no longer be required!

A number of labourers had been set to work clearing the obstruction in the tunnel. It took them a few hours, but eventually a section was cleared that was big enough for one of the police constables to climb through. The lighting system in the tunnel had been destroyed so the officer had to make his way cautiously along the tunnel with the aid of a small torch. Once through the tunnel and up the ladder that had been kindly abandoned by the crooks, the police constable emerged into the back room of the shop. Now he could see where all of the timber needed to shore up the walls of the tunnel had come from. The officer made his way to the front room of the shop and waved at the constable guarding the doors of the bank. The bank constable waved back at the shop constable, who then waved back at the bank constable, who then waved again at the shop constable, who in turn waved furiously in an attempt to get the bank constable to stop waving at him and to alert the security officer and the police detective inside the bank. This waving malarkey went on for about ten minutes until the shop constable had to make his way back through the tunnel in order to deliver the report of his findings himself. A more thorough investigation of the empty shop revealed the location of the tunnel soil and a number of very interesting items that could prove useful in apprehending the culprits. In particular, an empty bottle of whisky and a single tumbler, both of which could be dusted for fingerprints, a half empty packet of expensive cigarettes, some hotel letter headed papers and several poison pen letters, all addressed to a certain Billy Nutmeg…


Published by crispinunderfelt

All round good egg. Humanist and red wine drinker.

6 thoughts on “Thompson’s Lost Plimsole

  1. Oh dear Billy. But Wait! Could the fingerprints, the cigarettes and the hotel notepaper all point, not to Billy, but to a yet unknown hand, responsible for the poison pen letters? Actually, I fear I may be getting too drawn into this saga 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Step awaaay from the saga….. What we should be asking is, who is the poison pen writer? Does it matter who the writer is or is it even relevant to the story? Are the two police officers sat round the injured criminals bed eating cake, involved with the gang? So many ways to take the story…. or not….

      Liked by 1 person

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