Talking Drums

The West African News Magazine

A Stranger's London

Shoplifters by the sea!

Coachloads of women travelled to the seaside for the day - to shoplift.

The day trippers from Birmingham arrived in Torquay, Devon, Monday afternoon and went home that evening after their illegal shopping spree.

Inspector Harry Martin told magistrates in Torquay: Eighteen coachloads of females arrived in the resort during the afternoon.

"Working in large groups so that the shop staff would be overwhelmed, they came here with the express intention of shoplifting".

Before the court were two women who were fined a total of £250 after admitting theft and handling stolen goods.

"But there were a lot more than those two involved", said Inspector Martin, prosecuting.

"We had numerous other reports of theft, but identifying the culprits has proved impossible. Michael Neek, defending said: "I have to admit that it was experienced and organised years. shoplifting spree".

Porter with an Oxford BA

With an honours degree from Oxford, 22-year-old David Griffiths had the world at his feet. Any number of high-flying careers were open to him- politics perhaps, the top echelons of the Civil Service, the academic life...?

Now David is happily settling into the job of his choice. He has decided to be a hospital porter.

"This is the life for me", he said. "I haven't got any driving ambitions, I'm happy doing what I'm doing".

Working at the King George Hospital, Ilford, Essex, is a far cry from the three years David spent among the dreaming spires at Pembroke College, Oxford, studying English.

He has to do everything from delivering supplies to mixing custard, serving the gravy, mopping up the mess and doing the washing up. He said: "I started working here during a summer vacation and I enjoyed myself so much that when I left Oxford coming here was the natural thing to do.

"They are a great bunch of people to work with. The job keeps me on my toes and the pay is not bad". David, of Green Way, Dagenham, Essex, was the first pupil from Robert Clack comprehensive, Dagenham, to graduate from Oxford.

Crooks use top schools

Many top criminals send their children to expensive public schools. One crooked South London family used their son's rich school friends to get in touch with city men. The father, with a string of prison sentences behind him, has invested the proceeds of crime with a respectable stockbroker. Police know the names of many master criminals, but they do not have enough evidence to convict them.

For instance, they know that the mastermind behind the £26 million gold bullion robbery from a Heathrow warehouse is a drugs dealer.

The man -code-named "Bubbly" by Police - is also thought to have pulled off at least two other multi- million pound robberies in recent years.

Fraud pays

Fraud squad officers investigated crimes involving £1 billion last year in London alone. The total for the whole country is almost beyond calculation. Officially there are no figures for computer frauds. Privately most detectives admit that very few are even reported. Most of the big banks with international links quite deliberately hide swindles.

But it is known that at least three of the High Street banks have lost tens of millions of pounds in single frauds.

Fakes flood

Forgery is a growing industry: notes with a face value of £4 million have already been seized this year - eight times the haul of three years ago.

New printing technology has made it easy for crooks to stash away millions of fake notes from a single forgery operation.

Officers from the national counterfeit currency squad think criminals may have tons of notes hidden away to be used to double cross drug dealers.

Robbers' haul

The haul from robbery, burglary and shoplifting totalled almost £400 million last year.

Many of the offences were violent stabbings, muggings and armed attacks carried out by junkies.

But robberies involving millions of pounds are no longer unusual. The criminals' expertise matches the most modern security systems.

PC sacked after porn film show

A policeman has been sacked after a woman officer was sexually attacked at a home porn movie show.

The movies, featuring lesbian and group-sex scenes, were allegedly borrowed from a special constable who has since resigned.

One married policeman, aged 31, later told friends he "got carried away" by the explicit films. Senior officers found out after the woman constable made a complaint.

One policeman, a probationary officer at Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, has now lost his job. A second officer has been moved to a different area.

A complaint was sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions, but no charges have been brought.

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