Have I told you about how much I enjoy playing Fallen London? I have? Oh, OK.
This is part 49 of “A Couple of Tenors Short”. The Inspector Jones fan club have asked me to point out that they are struggling with the number of enquiries at the moment. After all Mattress Madge has to fit in the admin work around her shifts in the ‘Rat and Ferret’ and young Glenda tries hard, but still struggles to open envelopes held down with sticky tape.
To help them out, I thought I would help out with a couple of FAQ.
Inspector Jones buys his Flying Jackets from the Portobello Road market. Terry ‘Bargain’ Innit is only there on Tuesdays. However, with the sudden interest in his wares he hopes to open a website selling his complete range of pastel coloured flying gear soon.
Inspector Jones has never tried Macramé. He is against its use in any circumstances and doesn’t believe that even social use is justified. He used to crochet, but gave that up after he found himself crocheting alone.
Inspector Jones has NEVER visited Swansea.
At school, Inspector Jones’s favourite subject was geography. His set of coloured pencils was the envy of his classmates and his water cycle diagram was so colourful it was briefly exhibited at the Tate Gallery.
And finally, for Ms Tuffyburton of Wolverhampton, Inspector Jones believes your suggestion to be physically impossible and has taken advice over its legality. He admits it sounds like fun, but feels that Pippa would almost certainly object.
Should you have any further questions for Glynn, feel free to add them to the bottom of this post and I will do another FAQ.
There is another quiz question associated with the part number. This one is so easy you shouldn’t need the answer.
OK, the quiz question out of the way, here is my mantra. This is a serial. Any new-joiners should start with the opener known as Part One.
The troublesome recap has now settled into its new home. You can find the recap here!
Now read on...
Pippa and Jones sat on the sofa and poured over the Maryfields case notes together.
On the 15th May 2006, the manager of the Maryfields Jewellery Repository came into work and found the alarms were all switched off. At first, he put it down to an oversight, a lapse in his otherwise meticulous routine. It wasn’t until 10 minutes later when a pale faced member of staff rushed into his office that he realised something was wrong.
It was a heist that could have been lifted from a Hollywood blockbuster. Over the weekend, while the alarms were switched off, a gang had tunnelled into the underground vault from a disused underground service tunnel.
Maryfields said they lost around £5.3 million of Jewellery. Then there were the deposit boxes that Maryfields rented out to private clients. The final official total haul was £7.45 million. The vast majority was jewellery, precious metals and used banknotes. Most of the new banknotes had been left behind.
The unset alarm made it obvious that the gang had somebody on the inside. There were three people who had keys to the alarm system. One was on holiday in the Canary Islands, one had left early on Friday to attend a family wedding in Yorkshire.
To everybody except Jones, the manager became the prime suspect. A couple of weeks later, Jones was proved right. A woman member of staff failed to return from a holiday that started the weekend of the robbery. More detailed checks on the woman proved her identity and credentials to have been stolen from a woman in Hastings.
After many interviews, eventually the assistant manager admitted that he had gone for a drink with the woman after work one night. He didn’t know how it had happened, but he ended up having a few too many. He’d woken up the next morning, naked in a hotel room. Forensic tests on his keys had shown minute traces of wax.
The woman was never traced.
There followed nearly two years of dogged police work, successes and dead ends.
The first breakthrough came when Jones managed to identify the source of an empty gas cylinder found in the service tunnel. After visiting hundreds of hire companies and suppliers, he found it had been stolen on the weekend of the heist. Nothing else was stolen, which made Jones suspicious.
After running the names of the employees at the company, it emerged that one had a record for petty theft. Jones ran through a list of his known associates and one stood out, Terry Brazen. Brazen had graduated from the ranks of the petty criminal to bigger and more violent things.
They had tailed Brazen and he had led them to a small industrial unit in South London which he and others in the gang had converted to remove the gemstones from the jewellery and melt down the gold.
They had searched it under warrant when nobody was present, but there was no sign of any of the stolen goods. So they’d kept it under surveillance 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and slowly tightened the net on the gang. They’d installed covert microphones and cameras inside the unit. Meticulously, they recorded everything that went on in the unit, but they were still no closer to jewellery.
It was a month before a white van arrived at the site and a man in a brown uniform delivered several large boxes.
While the others had arranged the raid on the unit, Jones had followed a hunch and followed the van back to a farm in Essex. That too was raided and there were more arrests.
In all they recovered about £5 million worth of the stolen goods. Then the real police work began, cross checking phone records, checking computers, analysing bank accounts, breaking alibis and pulling together a case against the fourteen accused. A case which they won and saw long prison sentences handed down.
The files showed that the case was closed, yet in the front of the last folder were some of Jones’s own notes which suggested he felt that there were still others to be found and more of the stolen loot to be traced.