Life-Changing Phone Call
I sighed a welcome relief when I received a phone call from Dick Lee. He asked me to meet up so we could have a chat about his venture. Dick was an avuncular Yorkshireman and a Detective Inspector in the Thames Valley force. I had worked on some joint drugs operations with the squad from Reading and had met Dick as a result. I must have left an impression. Peter Long also called me to ask me what the hell was going on. Peter had a right to know. He oversaw the Hampshire Drug Squad. Peter told me it was a potentially dangerous undercover operation. He added that Lee had backing from the top to handpick a squad.
These developments impressed me. And, to be honest, I felt wanted. At the same time, I began to feel more than a little apprehension. The closest I had come to undercover work saw me spend time in a Portsmouth pub. The local Drugs Squad had a drug-dealing problem in one of the pubs on their manor. They could not keep watch as they would be recognised. It fell to me to watch the dealing in the pub. As an outsider, I wouldn’t be known by the local dealers. I spent many evenings in that Pompey pub. It served as good training for Operation Julie in that I was paid for drinking beer on duty.
I had my meeting with Lee a few days after I got his call. He blew smoke up my ass as only people can when they are really pitching for something. But it didn’t matter, he said enough when he explained that he had a special role in mind for me. That was the hook. He had me. I was also ready for a change of scenery in more ways than one.
Humdrum drugs work was getting me down as was Basingstoke, as was my tangled love life. Within two weeks or so of my meeting with Lee, my life changed. I started to drive a route that became so familiar to me over the next two years or so. I knew it as the road to Devizes in Wiltshire.
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