Captain Bridgman’s Mobile phone gave out its shrill ring.
“Bridgeman,” he answered, hoping that he was about to be given the information that he disparately wanted.
“Dante here,” said the caller.
“Have you got the Caplan’s address?” he snapped.
“He’s got the basement flat at, forty seven Primrose Road, Hackney,” replied Dante. Slightly exasperated, Bridgeman continued,
“Have you got the post code?”
The Captain repeated the code out loud, as he was speaking the words, Les, the driver, punched the co-ordinates into the Range Rovers satellite navigation system. “Ok, we’ll be there as soon as we can”.
Dante informed Bridgeman that, “We’ve arranged for the area to be cleared as soon as possible. Also,” he added, “Our firearms team is on its way to the scene.”
“That’s understood,” was the reply.
The Captain prodded the phones ‘off’ button.
Then exclaimed, “Shit.”
“What’s the problem?” enquired Smelton.
Bridgeman didn’t answer immediately instead, turning his attention to the driver, asked,
“How long before we get there, Les?”
Les looked at the instructions on the screen, “According to the ‘sat nav’ about ten minutes, boss.”
“Make it five,” was the order, “The last thing we need is for some ‘gung ho’ uniform going into the flat thinking that he’s saving us a job”.
Les Killegan gave an almost imperceptible, nod of his head as he pressed the cars accelerator to the floor. The automatic gearbox dropped down a gear.
The full power of the ‘four point eight litre’ engine came to life and shot the vehicle forward at an astonishing rate. It was little wonder that this was the vehicle of choice for the SAS.
Les expertly guided the car along the road. Aiming for gaps in the traffic that didn’t exist a moment earlier.
In front of him a traffic island appeared. Looking to the right, he saw a gap in the stream of vehicles that was about to join the roundabout before him. Les adjusted his speed to enable him to glide into the space without stopping. As he was half way round the curve at the exit, he, once again pressed the accelerator hard to the floor. He looked into his driver’s side, door mirror.
The Police patrol car, behind him had its lights and sirens in action. Les was surprised at how fast the police car gained on him.
It drew level with the SAS vehicle as the Officer in the passenger seat, indicated for the Range Rover to stop.
“We’ve got company, boss”, Les informed Bridgeman.
The Captain pressed his I.D. card against the side window.
The policeman was having none of it. He vehemently pointed his index finger towards the kerbside.
“Pull over….NOW!” he shouted.
The Police car cut, sharply in front of Les, causing him to brake sharply and come to a halt.
“What a Pratt,” he shouted.
“Go and see them Smelly,” the Captain ordered, nodding towards the two Officers who were now getting out of their patrol car.
Smelton exited the Rover and quickly walked over to them, showing his ID card as he did so.
Captain Bridgeman waited for a few moments, getting more impatient, as the time passed. He got out of the car and sprinted over to his comrade, who was having a very animated discussion with the Policemen.
“Have you got it sorted?” he asked Smelton.
There was no time for him to answer before one of the officers, turning to the Captain, said,
“Get back into your car son, and mind you own business.”
Smelton closed his eyes and shook his head,
“You don’t say that to the boss,” he thought.
“I’ve got no time for this,” Bridgeman said, drawing his pistol from its shoulder holster.
The two Policemen took a few steps backwards with mouths open, watched as the Captain walked past them and pumped two rounds into the patrol cars front tyres. Without a second glance, he walked back to the Range Rover, putting his pistol back into its holster as he went.
“Time for work, Smelly,” he shouted over his shoulder.
The car pulled away with a scream of tyres, leaving the policemen standing, in a state of shock.
Both were ashen faced, all signs of professionalism now gone as a green pool of liquid gathered round the feet of one of them.
“That was subtle, Boss,” remarked les as the Captain slid into the back seat of the car.
Bridgeman made no reply, instead tuning to Smelton, now sitting next to him, instructed,
“Phone Dante and tell him to keep his ‘wooden-tops’ away from us.”
He shook his head, saying to no one in particular,
“You’d think that someone would have the common sense to tell all ‘uniforms’ to keep out of our way. I dread to think what will happen if Caplan transmits another signal before we get there.”
As an after thought to Smelton, he said,
“You’d better give Dante my apologies, and tell him to send the bill for the tyres to my office.”
The Sergeant chuckled as he began to punch Dante’s number into his phone.
The rest of the journey passed off without any further incidents. That is of course, apart from Les using the Range Rover to bump a couple of other cars out of their way.
After each incident he yelled over his shoulder,
“Can they send that bill to your office as well, Boss?”
Once again the Captain made no reply, instead, concentrating on what may be waiting for them, when they reached their destination.
As the SAS team approached the beginning of Primrose Road, they found that their path barred by a line of black and yellow striped hazard warning tape, which had been strung across the width of the road.
On each corner crowds of people had begun to gather, talking to each other.
Some were excited at being evacuated from their homes, others were annoyed because they were missing their favourite afternoon soap.
They all looked at the Range Rover as it slowly approached the scene. As Les brought the vehicle to a halt a young uniformed Constable, who tapped on the cars window, confronted him
“You can’t park there, mate.”
Captain Bridgeman lowered his window, “Who’s in charge?” he asked, showing his ID card as he spoke.
“Oh, sorry sir,” apologised the Constable, “You’ll need to see Inspector Redman. He’s in the ‘‘Incident Unit’ parked down there.”
Bridgeman looked to where the policeman was indicating.
In a side street was parked a large white caravan, the size of a small furniture removal van, with chequered tape round its outside edges. From its roof flew two ‘Metropolitan Police’ flags. Bridgeman nodded his thanks as he got out of his vehicle.
Along with his two colleagues, he began the short walk to the ‘unit’.
They walked up the small metal set of steps leading to the vans side entrance door. Once inside they were met by an array of television monitors, each showing a different view of primrose road. Two of the screens showed the area at the front of number forty-seven, whilst a third was an aerial view, presumably form a helicopter hovering at high level. Bridgeman hoped that it didn’t descend too far because the noise from the rotors would alert Caplan. Two further cameras were recording the scene at the back of the premises.
Round the interior of the unit four uniformed police constables, all wearing headphones, were seated at desks. Every so often one of them would type something into the keyboards placed in front of them.
Three plain clothed officers were talking at the far end of the room,
“Which of you is Redman?” asked Captain Bridgeman, in a slightly raised voice, in an attempt to make himself heard.
“That’s me,” answered a middle-aged man as he emerged from the toilet cubicle. He took a few steps towards the Captain, pulling up his trouser zip as he walked, thrusting his right hand towards him.
They shook hands as Redman shouted over to the three men at the far side of the unit,
“Have we any signs of having a water supply in here yet?”
“Not yet, guv,” came the reply. “Not to worry,” continued Redman, “I’ll wash my hands later.”
Bridgeman shook his head as he wiped his hand on his jacket sleeve.
The Inspector walked over to the monitors,
“Let me put you in the picture as to what we’ve done,” he offered.
“As you can see, we have total control over what happens around the area of the house in question.”
He pointed at a map pinned on the wall, which had a black circle around the property at forty-seven.
“This is the ‘target’ house, I’ve also got three marksmen in the houses facing the property, as well as three more at the back. From the plans that we have, we know that the basement where Ian Caplan has been living has two flats. As you go in, from the front door you enter a hallway. On the right is a door, which leads to an empty flat. The door that you are interested in is in front of you at the end of the hall.”
He turned towards the Captain,
“Chris Dante has told me to hold off doing anything else ‘till you arrived. So, what do you want me to do now?”
“Nothing,” answered Bridgeman, “You’ve got the place contained, we’ll do our bit now.”
The SAS men made their way out of the ‘incident unit’ followed by Redman.
All four of them walked towards the Range Rover. Les opened the car’s boot to reveal a mini arsenal of weapons and electrical gadgets.
Redman shouted to the Constable who had earlier met the three soldiers. Nodding towards the vehicle, he ordered,
“Make sure that no one under any circumstances, goes near that car, ok?”
The youngster cast his eyes over the contents of the boot, his jaw dropped and his throat dried as he answered,
Sergeant Smelton, who was fastening his flak jacket, turned to Redman,
“Tell your men that we’ll be going down the road in twenty seconds, we don’t want any assistance at all.”
He looked at the Inspector, eye to eye, as if to emphasise the point,
“None at all, is that clear?”
The Policeman was stunned to be spoken to in that manner.
“Is that the way you allow your men to speak to you?” he asked Bridgeman.
The Captain was just as emphatic,
“Is that clear?”
“Crystal,” answered Redman.