In the Custody Suite at Brackmills, the morning began with bad news followed swiftly by good news. Giordano was at her desk early and when a new email from the traffic control unit in Hannington arrived she opened it quickly. It was a report on the LandCruiser that had sped off after she and Grey were attacked at Connor Street. Giordano scanned it quickly, trying to find the interesting sections that might help advance their investigation into the murder of Markovic. She read it with increasing hope. A vehicle fitting Grey’s description had been picked up travelling Eastwards along the A43 highway to Kettering. Cameras had tracked it as far as the roundabout at Round Spinney where it had turned onto Talavera Way. ANPR had managed to identity the number plate, and DVLA the owner. I was Maric Kovak.
Giordano’s heart sank. So, the vehicle belonged to Kovak. It left them nowhere. Kovac was not talking and the cameras had lost the vehicle once it turned onto the A4500 in the direction of Wellingborough. Giordano sighed deeply. She had been hoping the cameras might lead them somewhere, but now they were back where they started. Nevertheless, she had a number plate and decided there and then not to let her disappointment prevent her from doing her job thoroughly. She put out an All Stations marker on the vehicle, expecting ANPR to spot it somewhere. It would then be brought in for forensic examination. Perhaps Kovak’s pals had left prints that would lead to them.
Better news arrived a few minutes later when another email arrived from the same source. This one described how cameras had picked up a blue van leaving the Bellinge area just after the time stamp on the hairdresser’s CCTV video had captured a similar blue van leaving the car park outside the Khan’s news agency. Giordano’s heart was pounding as she read the report, before quickly printing it and striding out towards Thomas’s office.
At around nine-thirty Kubric learned from one of his police informers that McVey had been arrested along with five of his men. He listened with growing alarm as the events of the previous evening were recounted in grim detail. He was not so concerned about McVey, he was easily replaced, but he was anxious to know how McVey could have been so careless, and who had tipped the police off, not to mention how he was going to replace the twelve million pounds worth of stock the police had confiscated. He reasoned that neither McVey nor his people would turn informers, they all knew the penalties. Yes, they were looking at long sentences and so doing a deal with the law might at first seem tempting, but they also knew they would not live long enough to enjoy whatever incentives were offered.
Kubric summoned Cameron. Cameron was only halfway through breakfast but sensed the urgency and and left without finishing it. He climbed into his car and put his foot down, gripping a slice of toast between his teeth, pulling up outside Kubric’s house ten minutes later. He ran towards the front door. It was raining and he was not wearing a coat. Kubric let him in and led him into his office overlooking his front lawn. A pot of coffee stood steaming on a drop-leaf table under the window overlooking the lawn, and Kubric poured two cups, handing one to Cameron.
‘We have a problem Cammy,’ he began, ‘your boss has been arrested along with five of his men. Police raided his house and found him with stock worth over ten million. My stock!’
Cameron was wide eyed. ‘Jesus. I wondered why he didn’t call me last night. Do you know how it happened?’
‘One of his dealers, an ambitious young fool called Micky, had established a new nest in Stenson Street. Do you know anything about it?’
Cameron nodded. ‘I know Micky, and I know about Stenson Street. It was a good opportunity; teenage girl, desperate for money, living alone with her sick aunt. I set it up with McVey. I chose Micky. He’s reliable.’
Kubric gave him a hard stare. ‘Maybe so, but my informant tells me the girl went to the police. Got freaked after Micky took delivery of the stock. Police set a trap, but McVey got wind of it and turned the tables, seized the stock and took it back to his house. That was a big mistake. He should have known you never leave yourself open. Not a man in his position. Stupidly, he thought the stock was safe at his house, but some Judas double-crossed him.’
‘If I knew that Cammy he would be hanging with his balls in his throat at this moment.’
‘Not arrested yet. But if he was not in on it, he must have turned up at the house and found his stash gone. Why didn’t he call you?’
‘I don’t know.’ Cameron said, scratching his chin. ‘Stenson Street is tucked away in the backstreets. It should have been a prime site from which to do business. Whoever this grass is must have known about it, and the stock, and about the operation to recover it from the pigs.’
‘How well do you know this Micky?’
‘I’ve used him before without any problems, but he’s McVey’s man more than mine. McVey set him up personally with this one. I chose the house and the girl, but McVey chose Micky. If it was him, I don’t understand what he had to gain by selling McVey out.’
Kubric poured himself a refill and leaned against the table while he stirred in a cube of sugar. ‘You’re forgetting about Markovic, and Boucher. Someone is moving in Cammy. Trying to split us up. They’re organised and ruthless. I think they killed Markovic because he discovered them dealing on Boucher’s patch. Now they want McVey out of the way. I think they’ve put Micky on the payroll, told him to keep his eyes open. Micky somehow found out about the police operation and how McVey turned it around and put in a call.’
Cameron carefully placed his empty cup on the table. ‘This is serious. I wonder why they didn’t make a move for the stash?’
‘I’ve been worrying about that too. It was the obvious move to make. Grab some free stock, make a killing, gain a share of the market. But somehow this is the intelligent play. Weaken the structure, put the top man away and leave the way clear. It’s a longer-term plan Cammy.’
‘Well we can’t let that happen. We have to replace McVey.’
‘I need somebody reliable, someone who will steady the ship. I want you to take over Cammy. I’ll try to find you some muscle. You’re a thinker, but you will need security. Take it on, make it a success, but watch your back and tell me about anyone or anything that doesn’t look right.’
‘What about Boucher’s district? You wanted me to find out what’s going on over there. I can’t do both.’
’Let me worry about Boucher. He has a lot to answer for. All this mayhem began on his patch. I will deal with him. You will take care of this Micky? Do you need someone?’
‘No, I can handle it myself.’ Cameron said.