By Len A.Hynds

In the criminal fraternity, the man who did the actual breaking into a locked safe, especially by using explosives, was highly regarded and was known as a “Peterman”, the “Peter” being the safe. By undercover work, we discovered that a south London team were planning a break-in, and they needed the services of such a person. Eventually we discovered who this person was, that they had engaged, and in fact we learnt a lot from a tape recording, from the conversation two of them had with him in the back of a London Taxi, of which I was driving at the time. He lived in another part of London, and learnt that he refused to carry anything which could connect him to the crime and that the gelignite explosive would have to be taken to the scene by others.

We learnt where he lived, and where he would leave his car on the night in question, allowing him to cross a railway footbridge to where a stolen car with false plates would be waiting for him.

It was my job to follow the Peterman discreetly, but he was held up in a routine police check-point, looking for drunk drivers. When he eventually parked his car and ran across the railway bridge, I was already parked on the other side watching the stolen car. He was late of course, and the thieves had already forced an entry, and it was decided to arrest them.

Following discreetly, he suddenly saw the arresting officer’s cars outside, and passed no doubt cursing to himself. I radioed for assistance, and soon he was also arrested. In spite of having nothing on him to connect him with the crime, we had that vital tape recording, but also in his wallet, was a contraceptive, and it was known that he would pack gelignite into the contraceptive, only a small amount and insert it carefully into the keyhole of the safe, with the detonator pushed in after.

His face was a picture, when he was also charged with going equipped for crime.

Male hand holding a condom