I have received a free e-copy of the book S5 Uncovered by James Durose-Rayner to review.
Here is the book blurb.
Based around a series of true events. The BBC’s current affairs programme ‘Panorama’ undertook a sixty minute documentary / exposé surrounding an elite government task force that went undercover in Sheffield over a period of twelve months. Their remit was to use the Proceeds of Crime Act to fill up the police federations coffers using illegally gained intelligence, on one hand overlooking – and in some cases encouraging – major criminal activity such as murder, kidnap and torture; whilst on the other, surreptitiously acquiring pre-bargained guilty pleas from defendants then reneging on deals, which culminated in some of the heaviest sentences ever handed out in the UK. But the programme was never aired.
As I read this book, I had to keep reminding myself that it wasn’t a story, but based on true events. I found this really hard to believe, with everything going on. I certainly didn’t know that there was such a seedy underworld in Sheffield, a city I have visited occasionally. And I thought it had a clever title based on the postcode area S5.
Don Chaps of SOCA (Senior Organised Crime Agency) sets up an under-cover team to tackle certain elements of crime in Sheffield. They use unorthodox methods like bugging devices to monitor their primary markers. Conversations that they listen to lead them to intercepting other criminals, in particular busting some huge drugs hauls. They even bug other police officials, overhearing some of the conversations with grasses. A very interesting read from both sides of the coin. And staggering to find out the operation raked in over a billion pounds.
S5 Uncovered is available on Amazon, currently priced at £19.99 in paperback and is published by Clink Street Publishing. It is a very long book at 908 pages so took me quite a while to read. I did enjoy reading it but would have preferred the strong language to be toned down somewhat. There is very frequent use of both the F and C words. I can understand why, since it is based on true events and the characters would have been speaking like that, but I don’t like to read those words.
Here is an extract from Episode 10 of the book. (Language warning – does include B word).
We were monitoring the Pakistani heroin dealers, but heroin was different from other drugs and rather than gain intelligence from a long drawn out surveillance, we decided that it would be best all-around if we hit them with immediate effect, which pleased Mad Tony immensely, as he was going absolutely ‘squirrels’ monitoring all the phone activity, but that was not to say he didn’t like it, as it put him in pole position on a lot of intelligence, especially on the link with the Singh Brothers over in Scunthorpe.
The Singhs were apparently headed up by a Harjminder Singh, or ‘Jammy’ to his friends. Unlike most Asians, Harjminder was an imposing man, around 6’ 5”, smartly-cut and who wore tinted rims. His ‘family’ comprised a series of brothers, cousins and the odd mate, none of whom were really cut from the same stuff as the main man. If you watch the film ‘American Gangster’ with Denzil Washington, you could possibly see where I am coming from. The Singh Brothers were Harjminder Singh full-stop. All we knew is that Harjminder ran a hash ring that served his immediate area, which he had locked-down as the sole operator. You wanted hash or cannabis in that area, ninety-nine per cent of the time you had to go through the Singh Brothers. The surveillance on him was complex though, as although they spoke in English, they communicated mainly in some poxy Sikh dialect, which I for one couldn’t understand. I never gave a rat’s-ass about hash or cannabis, and to be honest neither did the police, unless of course it was imported en-masse or indeed mass cultivated, which meant large denominations of currency and something for us to seize. I nearly fell over when I got wind that these guys turned over around one million pounds a month on hash alone, I mean the guy lived in a terraced house at the back of Frodingham Road and even counted up coppers to pay for a lamb kebab. He certainly wasn’t anything like the flash bastards that most Asian dealers were. A twelve million pounds per annum drug ring meant big business and a massive amount of credit for us, as these boys were sailing under the radar of both the HU2 satellite office and the regional police force.
I’m participating in the book tour and you may like to check out some of the other blog stops on the tour.
About James Durose-Rayner
James Durose-Rayner has over twenty years’ experience in journalism. He is a member of the Writer’s Guild and the editor of NATM, the UK’s leading specialist civil engineering journal. His writing has been featured in over 210 magazines and his debut indie-novel, S63: Made in Thurnscoe, published in 2001, received positive reviews. In 2015, I Am Sam (Clink Street Publishing) and itv Seven (New Generation Publishing) followed to more affirmative acclaim. Durose-Rayner currently divides his time between the UK and Cyprus.
Disclosure. This post is a review of an e-book I was sent for free. All opinions are my own.