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Putting together 'S5'
printed in New York City, USA - Available Now
Almost everything within in S5 has been documented in the media. Almost.
Rear, spine and front cover of 'S5'
Photograph. The gateway to S5
The introduction to S5
In October 2013 the BBC's current affairs programme 'Panorama' was to broadcast a 60 minute documentary, regarding an elite government task force working undercover in the city of Sheffield.
After the rather haunting adaptation of Francis Lai's opening theme music, Journalist Samantha Poling opened the programme stating, “The police federation are broke - Its members under increasing pressure to improve the service they provide, while working under ever increasing financial constraints – And whilst the once mighty British judicial system is currently on its knees.
Tonight we look at a twelve month operation undertaken in the north of England by an elite task force within SOCA - the Government's Serious Organised Crime Agency, that involved covert surveillance on several major figures within the lower echelons of Sheffield's underworld with its main remit being: to fill up the police federations coffers using illegally gained intelligence, whilst 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 .....”
A huge title then filled the TV screen which stated: 'S5 Uncovered'.
However the programme was never aired.
If Love is the Drug, then I want to O.D - The Brian Jonestown Massacre.mp3
When 'S5' was written as a 13-episode screenplay / script, this is what was envisaged as the intro
An idiot's guide to fiction?
fiction is a noun.
Fiction means: written stories about people and events that are not real : literature that tells stories which are imagined by the writer
Fiction means: something that is not true
Genre: Fiction based on fact, black humour
Based on a series of events which have been well-documented in the media.
I have a wide variety of friends, a lot of who are colourful characters. One of these characters had just started doing an eight year stretch in HMP Doncaster and a year into his sentence I mentioned that I might do a story - something which revolved around him, however a book was never the way I was going to go about it - or so I thought.
A script/screenplay I felt was a bit easier, and I set about it in 2008 and immediately stumbled into a problem. He may have been a friend, but without sounding condescending he was hardly the most interesting of people living the most interesting of lives as prison is 23 hours of TV - end of. I introduced his brother, who was slightly more interesting but I still had the same problem. I needed some form of variation in the story. I chucked in two characters - one based on my mate Tim and one based on another mate called Phil. I also introduced a character based on a senior policeman out of Sheffield who I was knocking about with at the time and who was very helpful and I kicked off from there.
The script/screenplay was okay, but it was always missing something and even when it was completed I wasn't truly happy with it. I spoke with film director Ken Loach and some director who did an episode of 'Spooks'. Ken offered me guidance whilst the other guy was just some self important prick who I wouldn't have pissed on if he'd have been on fire. I had stumbled on to the TV profession.
I sat on the script until January 2013 when I decided to rip it apart and re manufacture it into a book, by adding a different angle and introducing a few more characters based on friends and associates. I had lift off. I was now enjoying what I was writing
The Bristol-office of SOCA are interested in a man who originates from the north Sheffield area and its deputy director - Don Chaps - a minor character out of 'S63' - contacts South Yorkshire Police and he asks them to lift him for questioning. After the first bout of questioning, the powers-that-be clear the cells for New Year's Eve and release him on bail. Unfortunately for SOCA he gets murdered and what the police assume to be just another low-level drug related murder on the Cross (Parson Cross) turns out to be a little bit more than that.
SOCA are working towards its dissolution and integration into the NCA and the head office down in Vauxhall, London are overly concerned that a current child protection case in Rotherham and Sheffield is being dragged out to the point of stalling and they suggest that the deputy director should stay in Sheffield and weed out the problems within the existing office and force convictions, whilst setting up what is a covert task force out of an old warehouse in the Shalesmoor area of the city to follow a set of 'Primary Markers' – half of whose sole purpose is the acquisition of money and drugs via violence, whilst the other half are just businessmen – both sets of who continually use each other.
The idea was not to bring them in – but to let them go about their everyday business but to always be one step ahead of them using covert surveillance – SOCA's remit being to fill the coffers of the police federation using 'their interpretation' of the 'Proceeds of Crime Act'.
The story is told by through the eyes of the said SOCA operative and through a third party no one sees.
1. Good Morning
2. From Rampton With Love
3. The Safe
4. One of Our Spies is Missing
5. The Wicker Man
6. The Ops Man
7. The Muppet Show
8. The Grass and the Gun
10. The Rag
11. The Curious Case of Mr. Broomy
12. De Da’s
13. What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger
14. A Twisted Winter's Tale
15. Good Things Come to Those Who Wait
Extras. Out-takes from BBC's Panorama
Photograph. Episode 12 - De Da's
Sheffield's police are being overworked due to what the press had termed the 'Postcode Wars'.
“So what’s all the bollocks about in Sheffield?” asked the Contractor reverting back to the stuff that had been all over the papers.
“The Postcode wars,” replied the Big Lad. “There are kids fighting each other, just because they live on a different bit of council turf to one another.”
“I can’t see the point of knocking someone off if there’s no money in it,” said the Contractor. “It sounds stupid.”
“It is stupid,” replied the Big Lad.
The police are a major part of the book - one station in particular - that of Eck Road.
The story will show you the huge difference between a police force in the city and a regional force out in the sticks.
Some of the characters are fantastic.
Det. Insp. Matt Swanwick
Det. Supt. 'Mac' McMackeson
Det. Supt. F Guy Weeks
Det. Supt. Ted 'Blaster' Bates
Sgt. 'Gozzer' Speight
Sgt. Colin Roughley
P.C Kev Keeny a.k.a the Traffic Faschist
Who is Det. Supt F. Guy Weeks?
“I'm after Detective Superintendent McMackeson,” I said. “Don Chaps, SOCA.”
“Well tha's got Detective Superintendent F. Guy Weeks,” he replied in his flat-cap Yorkshire accent.
“I was looking for Detective Superintendent McMackeson,” I reiterated.
“Well tha's got me lad," he said. “What can I do for thee?”
I would have liked to know what the 'F' stood for but that was a road I definitely wasn't going down and Irequested that they held the prisoner Abdul 'Fez' Rahman until we could get some background on both him and his rather nescient brother.
“No problem lad, consider it done,” he replied.
I loved Eck Road nick. They all sang from the same sheet, and nothing was too much trouble. But now I had something else narking me – who was he? And more to the point, what did the 'F' stand for? “Anybody know the new Super' down at Eck Road',” I asked. “An F Guy Weeks?”
They all shrugged their shoulders and looked at each other. “What does the 'F' stand for?” asked Matty.
We were soon going to find outwhat the 'F' stood for as he was on the blower to us all the time and it was a case of “Don, it's that fucking Guy Weeks again.” And he kept calling me fucking “Donald”, which drove me fucking bats. What was I - a duck?
“Ah Donald, lad,” he would say, “We have a man in custody who we are charging with possession of Class A, but before we do, would your people want to talk to him?”
That wasn't a one time jolly either - it was every fucking time, and believe me, Eck Road nick had at least twenty of those shit bags a day. I was beginning to have nightmares of him prowling around the loft of the office or hijacking me in my car and wanting to personally bore me senseless with his droll Yorkshire accent, but the worst thing was that once he found out both Blaster Bates and McMackeson came down here on the ear hole scoffing our biscuits and drinking our tea, he became a permanent fixture. “What a lovely dress tha's got on this morning, lass,” he would say as regards either one of the girls attire. “She looks a right peach, doesn't she Donald, lad?”
That aside, he was a genuinely, genuinely great bloke and like his counterparts would walk over hot coals in his bare feet to help you.
Extract from 'S5'
Meet Mr. Jammy Singh
I met Jammy through the Section 18 Gym & Fight Club I used to own in Scunthorpe and we got to be great friends. He was most apologetic when I had the gym turned over by detectives from the regional police force.
In his past life Jammy was a convicted dealer - Hash and Cannabis being what he dealt with. He did his eight years and got walloped with a huge confiscation order - the police finding the gym keys on him made them think he owned the place and that's when they came down on us.
In fact the police called around quite a lot - more recently looking for the whereabouts of three Lithuanian's as part of a blackmail and torture case (see photo below).
Like I said - I know some colourful people.
The Three Amigo's
Photograph. Here they are - Three happy, smiling, fucking campers: The Scunthorpe Blackmail and Torture Crew. All nice lads really - to me that is.
From Left to Right. Ernestas Rimkevicius, Raimondas Pupsys and Mantas Vilkaitis.
They got 27 and a half years.
Ernestas and Mantas came over as really well-mannered and very respectful lads - Really ! Raimondas was a bit different - He was far more quieter and sinister and threw a punch as good as he looked - Fucking very nasty
Who is Don Chaps ?
Don Chaps was a minor character out of 'S63'.
I always like a hero or anti-hero and Don was exactly that.
He is a deputy director with SOCA who is widowed and a workaholic.
He was born on Caernarvon Crescent in Bolton-upon-Dearne and he joined the South Yorkshire Police making the rank of inspector before leaving to join up with a government agency.
All the way through writing the book I never really had a visual thought of how he looked - although in the book he continually describes Mr. X or Mr. Y having an appearance of this or that person.
It's weird how some characters are easily visualised and others are not.
I was recently asked about it during a conversation and I said, "Possibly the former IRA character out of The Jackal."
Photograph. The 'Declan Mulqueen' character in 'The Jackal' is possibly the nearest visualisation I could ever get to Don Chaps.
The Sheffield Star
Almost everything within 'S5' has been documented in the media.
It is a story that will make you laugh - but it will also make you cry.
SOCA Operative 'Mad Tony'
SOCA operative, Matty Barton
Photograph. The 'real' Matty Barton or 'Silly Bollocks' as he was always referred to in the 'S1' Satellite Office.
He was tasked with going undercover in HMP Doncaster to garner evidence re: one of SOCA's Primary Markers.
Photograph. The two people behind the characters the 'Ops Man' and 'Dunk' walking towards The Wicker Arches in Sheffield.
SOCA's Primary Markers
The Big Lad: Standing at an inch or two under seven foot tall, he makes money from robbing drug dealers and inflicting violence.
The Ops Man: A serving member of the elite forces who moonlights as an assassin.
Mr.Dunkerly: The sadistic brother of the Big Lad who has a penchant for tomato ketchup and who thinks all his girlfriends look like 'Shakira', which they definitely do not.
Big Phil: The owner of a dog meat factory that has a loud-mouthed wife, overbearing father and a rather testing son.
Mr. Ansar: An astute businessman who is to the Asian drug dealers of Sheffield, what Prince John was to the peasants of Nottingham.
The Radiohead: A gay tattooist who has a studio off Pitsmoor Road and who to the delight of SOCA loves to talk.
The Contractor: A businessman with issues.
Honest John: A quick talking and womanising used car salesman who thinks he looks like Rod Stewart.
Mr. White: A senior housing officer for the local authority who's home life is that of a train wreck.
"The story covers the goings within lower echelons of north Sheffield's underworld over a period of five or six years - However the story has been condensed into just over 12 months and a few days."
SOCA's Primary Markers
The Ops Man
Video. Bobby Pickett
The Ops Man was described as one of the most dangerous individuals who SOCA had ever come into contact with and was described by Don Chaps as possessing all the mannerisms, if not looking uncannily like Bobby Pickett in this video.
It is also mentioned within 'S5' that SOCA's executive director Tighe Britton was fascinated by him.
Photograph. Meet the real 'Big Phil'
The person behind the 'Big Phil' character, who was possibly the most nicest kid you could ever meet. In real life he owned a dog meat factory, however in the story the dog meat factory is a bit different.... Well it's a lot fucking different, really.
Phil sadly passed away in early summer 2016 - and sadly before he could read the book.
Phil has a rather testing son called Josh - as he has in real life - however this lad pushes his buttons like you would never believe. And his wife? Jesus Christ.
Don Chaps felt sorry for the guy as you will see in the 'Out-takes from BBC's Panorama'.
I never ever had to stray far from their actual characters.
Who are the Professionals?
There is regular mention of a gang of three named by the police as 'The Professionals' in 'S5'.
These were based around (meaning not real) a real life gang who the police gave the self-same moniker to that terrorised north Sheffield around 2006.
One from Palgrave Crecent, Southey Green ended up copping 16 years, another from Firshill Walk, Firshill got handed a 12-stretch whilst the other got 5 or 6 years.
The women behind SOCA's 'Operation S5'
I needed a smart intelligent woman for the character of the SOCA operative Emma Peel and immediately thought of Carol Vorderman even though I had named her after Diana Rigg's character in 'The Avengers'.
The SOCA operative Rumaisa Fielding was a bit different - All the way through writing it I never truly imagined a face. Strange that.
Checking out Mr. Ansar
Mr. Ansar was a very amiable guy, tall, smart and eloquently spoken, however the one place he never seemed to be was in his office and Rumaisa had to wait four days until he was actually there before she could make contact via her application. “He's lovely,” she said. “A really nice man.”
I had heard this before prior to the PR1 wire installation and the first question to counteract that was, “Is he gay?”
“He doesn't look gay,” she replied.
“You didn't think the big blonde haired kid with rings in both ears at the tattoo shop was gay,” I said. “And he looks more like Holly Johnson than Holly Johnson does.”
Extract from 'S5'
The Bash house bust
The Dunk Show
Later that day and down at the gym the Big Lad watched on as his younger brother walked in through the double doors and greeted him with a “Where the fuck have you been?”
“Why what’s up?” Dunk asked.
“That thing needed taking down to that place,”
“It can wait can’t it?” stated Dunk
“Where have you been anyway?” the Big Lad asked. “Kempy said he saw you down London Road last night with that bird with the dodgy eye who works in the chicken shop and that fat mate she drags around with her.”
“She hasn't got a dodgy eye,” Dunk said.
“You what?” exclaimed the Big Lad. “I'm surprised she can put a spoon in her mouth without sticking it inher fucking ear.”
Extract from 'S5'
S.O.C.A - S5 Team
Tighe Britton, Executive Director (Head Office)
Don Chaps, Deputy Director, Senior Intelligence Officer
Emma Peel - Head of Operations, Senior Intelligence Officer
Rumaisa Fielding, Head of Operations, Senior Intelligence Officer
Gareth Allen, Acting Head of Operations, Senior Intelligence Officer
Tony Wilson a.k.a “Mad Tony”, Senior Intelligence Officer
Matty Barton, Senior Intelligence Officer
Paul Dawson, Senior Intelligence Officer
Liam Copley, Senior Intelligence Officer
Brandon Copley, Senior Intelligence Officer
Hafiz Rahman BA, Asset Recovery Manager
PC Michael Blessed a.k.a “Skooks”, Temporary Forensics, CCTV (Seconded to SOCA)
The Demolition Crew
Meanwhile our panda-faced Matty was in the transcription room with his headphones on listening to the PRC2 wire along with Paul Dawson, both of who were interested in a what was going down between a small part of our so-called five percent - the Big Lad was in conversation with a father and son demolition firm off the 'Cross, which comprised Tattooed John and Danny Tiler respectively.
John was an extremely amiable guy who could have been construed by people who didn't know him as possibly being a brick short of a load, mainly due to drug abuse, however that is certainly not how it was. John was also very close to our 'Paranoid Android' - the tattooist, hence where his nickname came from.
Danny Tiler was a full-on guy in the 'Dunk mode' and a highly volatile piece of manpower, who had served time at Her Majesties Pleasure for kidnap and torture and who doted on his pin-up girlfriend who was called Ashleigh, and who between them had a brace of lovely kids. Both were to play a huge part in what was to come and who both liked to earn and had hearts like lions. Amongst other things we had put them in the frame for the seven car arson over at the rapists property however there was no way we could prove that, but we knew from the PRC2 wire they were on the verge of hitting an unknown property which had been targeted by the Big Lad, possibly the place where the witness was residing, and I didn't like it one bit when the term 'cracker' was used, as 'cracker' we assumed, referred to a bomb.
Extract from 'S5'
The Police Informants
The police rely on informants - they have to.
In 'S5' there are two.
The Sheffield-based informant supposedly lives on the 'Cross and I based him around or after the now deceased Sheffield-based author Julian Broadhead's alter-ego as a bit of a tribute. Julian and I shared similar friends and he wrote historical gangland stories within the city - best known for Sheffield Gang Wars, telling the story of a city terrorised by the Mooney and other gangs in the Twenties.
The regional informant supposedly lives outside of the city and I named him after Michael Chiklis' character in the FX US crime drama 'The Shield'. If you've not watched it - then do.
The Sharkey Bust
I got back to another case file on my desk. Not only did I have a set of Pakistani heroin dealers to deal with and a possible murder case knocked back by the IPCC, I now had a Trading Standards case.
“Dodgy handbags?” I said.
“He had over two hundred in the back of his van,” said Tony, “And at thirty five quid a piece that's seven grand – And this is everyday, Don - That's forty-two grand.”
“Forty-nine,” I said.
“Don't be a smart arse, Don,” stated Tony in his genial 'matter of fact' kind of manner. “He don't work Sunday's.”
The man everyone knew as 'Sharkey' was a wheeler dealer in the Del Boy mode and knocked out anything from fake Armani jeans to 52” flat screen TV's, as singles or in bulk. Whatever you wanted, he could get, but whereas Del Boy was the amiable south London Cockney geezer with the Je ne sais pas ce que c'est tu grossir branleur kind of patter, Sharkey had an evil nature, which came to light when D.I Tom Blackley and his officers along with Mad Tony turned him over one Saturday morning and two officers, one a WDC who ended up at Sheffield Northern General having her mouth stitched up after being head butted whilst the other couldn't walk for hours after being kicked in the bollocks. Tony got the cuffs on him but he was more upset at the sight of blood pouring out of the female detectives mouth, and he stayed with her the whole time while she had her mouth stitched and dropped her off home.
For all his idiosyncrasies, and there were a few, Mad Tony was a great kid to have around.
“She was lucky to still have all her front teeth,” he said. “A fucking right animal that Sharkey dude.”
“Is she okay?” Mrs Peel asked.
“Sound,” said Tony nodding. “She made me a coffee and gave me a wank – Top lass.”
“Hold on a minute,” smiled Rumaisa. “She's married.”
“Yeah, I know,” said Tony. “To that big bald dude at Hammerton Road nick.”
Extract from 'S5'