When the Penny Drops
Dave Oldroyd got back to his desk from yet another meeting on the top floor. They were always the same, reviewing the current crime figures, looking shocked at how bad they were and then making all sorts of impossible pledges that they all
knew wouldn't be kept and couldn't be afforded. He always came out of such meetings with the thought that perhaps crime figure would improve if the ten people round the table talking about them actually got out and did something. Annie was at her desk battering her keyboard with gusto.
'Steady on Annie, I'm allergic to enthusiasm.'
Annie looked across at him and smiled.
'I'm just typing up a report sarge. While you were called to higher things, I've been out on a proper job.'
She continued typing furiously for some time and then sat back and stared at her handiwork with a look of satisfaction.
'Bit of an oddball this one,' she said. 'I'd be interested to know what you think.'
She leaned over to her printer, picked off the report and handed it across to Oldroyd. He read it slowly and deliberately, looked across at Annie with a slightly puzzled expression and then read it even more slowly and more deliberately again.
'If I understand this correctly,' said Oldroyd, 'someone has sneaked into a commercial garage in the dark, nicked a chemical toilet from a coach, knocked out a night
shift mechanic and fled.'
'Well that's about the gist of it sarge, but it just felt a bit more sinister than that. At first it seemed weird and even amusing, but the mechanic wasn't amused. He was
unconscious for half an hour before his mates found him and he's been kept in hospital for observation.'
Oldroyd turned and gave Annie his full attention. 'I need a bit more to go on Annie. What haven't you told me?'
'Well, as if stealing a chemical toilet isn't bizarre enough sarge, this one was taken from the coach that was involved in that serious smash last night. The coach was a
write off and the chemical toilet had been practically destroyed, yet someone went to great lengths to remove what was left of it. Is that weird or what?'
Oldroyd stared at her blankly for what seemed like an age and then a light suddenly switched on behind his eyes.
'Bloody hell Annie, weird indeed, but only weird if you don't know why. You've got a brain bigger than Stephen Hawking, so get it into gear and tell me what the motivation could be for doing something like that.'
Annie was ready. 'I already have sarge. There must have been something hidden in it that somebody wanted very badly. It was the receiving tank that they took, not the
toilet bowl itself. It would have been filled with toilet chemicals and human waste. What better place to hide something you didn't want found?'
'My thoughts exactly DC Waters, my thoughts exactly.'
Oldroyd turned to face his computer screen, but had second thoughts and turned back to Annie.
'You're much better on the keys than I am Annie, start digging into last night's reports. I want to know who owns the coach, who the driver was and more importantly, where
had it just come back from. I've got alarm bells ringing inside this woolly head of mine and a tingle running down my spine. If what's happened is what I think's happened, then I'll bet my last Woodbine on that coach having just returned from abroad.'
With that, he jumped up from his seat and headed for the door, leaving Annie tapping at her keyboard.
'What's a Woodbine sarge?' she enquired with a smile from ever increasing distance.' A feint 'look it up,' drifted back from the corridor.
In the Traffic Division office, Oldroyd found just what he was looking for; an accident investigation officer typing out a report.
'Just the man I want to speak to,' said Oldroyd. 'Were you at the scene of the coach crash last night Alec?'
Sergeant Alec Porter looked up, slightly peeved at being stopped in full flow.
'Yes I was Dave, I'm just trying to finish off my report, but I keep getting interrupted.'
'I'm sorry mate, I just need the answer to one question and then I'll leave you in peace. Did anyone from the coach company turn up at the scene?'
'As a matter of fact someone did. An Asian guy who said he was the owner. Got quite stroppy when I told him it was a crime scene and he couldn't go near the coach.'
'Did he say what he wanted?'
'No, but what struck me as strange at the time was all he seemed concerned about was how soon the coach could be recovered to his depot. There were three dead teenagers trapped underneath it and his driver was in hospital, but he never
once asked about any of them. When I told him that in view of it being a fatal accident the coach would have to be checked over by the Ministry at a place of their choosing, he looked stunned. Just turned round and walked away without a word.'
'It just gets better Alec. Can I have a copy of this when you've finished it?'
'If you bugger off and leave me in peace you can.'
Dave Oldroyd headed back to his office with a growing sense of purpose, his mind spinning with possible scenarios. Annie looked up with a grin on her face as he
returned to his desk, clearly bursting with information.
'Tiger Tours from Bradford sarge, that's who the coach belonged to and according to Google, it's part of the Kashani Group of Companies owned by a guy called Naz Kashani. He's into all sorts of stuff, from manufacturing beds, to travel agencies, the coach company and even a registered Travel Exchange business. Oh! And he owns the High Roller Casino near the Alhambra. Went there once with some mates years ago and lost all my money very quickly. Proper mugs game that is.'
'Do we know where the coach had been Annie? Please tell me it was on its way back from a trip abroad.'
'Can't tell you that sarge, but the driver's name was David Newton. He's in Dewsbury General with broken ribs and a fractured pelvis. I've got his home address and the
address of the Tiger Tours depot.'
'That'll do for a start Annie. If my guess is correct, Mr Kashani may well be more of an entrepreneur than even Google knows about.'
'Where do we go from here then sarge?'
'Run a check on the driver and this Kashani bloke, see if we've got anything on the system on either of them. While you're doing that I'll fetch us some tepid Zambezi water and have a think.'
Dave Oldroyd had been a copper for a long time and couldn't remember ever having been quite as fired up as he was feeling at this moment. There were all sorts of strands running through his mind that didn't quite make sense, but he knew instinctively that he was onto something of consequence. It wasn't just the coach accident and what might be uncovered there. It was Pete Docherty, the break in
at Makepiece's club, Docherty's visit to the hospital, the break in on the Ossett Trading Estate and now the tragic death of Docherty's best pal's sixteen year old son. They were all pieces of a jigsaw puzzle lying face up and staring at him, challenging him to make sense of them.
There were obviously lots of missing pieces, and some of the pieces he had could well be from another puzzle, but something instinctive was shouting in the far reaches of
his policeman's head. Jed Makepiece and now Kashani. Two serious players, two so called entrepreneurs. One a known drug dealer and the other yet to be determined. Dave Oldroyd dropped his coin into the drinks dispenser and pressed the white coffee button. As the plastic cup dropped into place a thought struck him; wouldn't it be just
wonderful if there was a known link between Makepiece and Kashani. Oldroyd picked up his two Zambezi waters and headed for his desk. An urgent call to his old mate Jack Parker in the West Yorkshire Drug Squad was required.