By Len A.Hynds

In response to a telephone call I went to speak to the young owner of a smart electrical store in the High Street, which was beneath a large block of flats. He told me that he had been approached by two rough looking men, who said his store needed protection, against local gangs who would probably come in and wreck it. They told him that they would give him time to consider it, and return in the afternoon to collect the first week’s payment. Devil's mask

He told me that he was not prepared to pay protection money to these thugs, and he had set a trap for them. He had placed a hidden microphone so that their demands could be recorded, and at the same time heard by somebody hiding in the basement listening in to the receiver. I was to be that person. He took me to the basement, and showed me the equipment he had set up, and I could hear distinctly people talking in the shop above. I phoned the station getting a radio car to be nearby because it seemed certain that arrests would be made.

Suddenly there was a rapping near the microphone above, which was the signal that they had entered the shop. Almost instantly there was a loud rushing noise, and all sounds from the microphone were drowned out by the unearthly din coming from this large iron pipe that ran from ceiling to floor, and I realised that it was the main sewage pipe from all those flats above, and that about 200 people had used the toilet at the same time.

Quite frankly, I felt that I was being put upon from a great height. No arrests on this occasion, but they came later.