“If we carry on going around the block they’ll spot us and get suspicious.” the young Detective Constable commented.
“I guess so, James.” the DI agreed, “Pull in over there and get the A to Z out. We’ll play at being lost for a while.”
James turned the unmarked car smartly into the spot the DI had pointed out. He killed the engine and fished in the door pocket for the street guide. Flicking through to the appropriate page he mused, “Do people still use these? I can get all the maps I need on my phone.”
“Some of us don’t like technology. I can hardly use text.”
“They’ve opened the shutters over the personnel door, but not the loading bay.” James observed.
“That’s not going to be easy to enter quickly.” the DI leant forward in his seat and stared upwards to see the helicopter he’d just heard. “The eye in the sky’s here. You get through to their controllers and I shall find out where the men with the guns are.”
Four armed officers were in an unmarked van one street further on, waiting for an entry team- with their battering ram to clear the door quickly- to turn up. Meanwhile, the helicopter was making wide, circling passes of the tram stop further down Eccles New Road but keeping its cameras focused on the industrial unit. Their infra red camera told them there was a huddle of bodies just inside the loading bay and another two or three in the room farthest from the road.
James and the DI passed information back and forth between the armed officers and the helicopter until the entry team turned up. “Okay. Go when you’re ready.” the DI ordered.
A minute later two vans pulled up in the car park of the unit next to the target. Armoured and helmeted officers jumped out of the vans and formed up on the largest of their group, who hefted a large tube with handles at one end and in the middle. They sneaked along the wall to the door, where the officer with the club took a step back and swung it. As the door gave way on the second swing James and the DI stepped out of the car and headed for the action.
By the time The DI and James had reached the shattered door of the unit the armed officers had swept through it and subdued all the occupants. Five men were sat at a long table in the loading bay with their hands on their heads. An officer escorted three young women from another room. “No sign of the hostages?”
“No sir.” responded the man with the hammer.
James was by the table, turning over items of paperwork the men had been working on. “I don’t know if it’s any consolation, sir, but…” he held up a passport, the space where there should have been an image of the subject was empty.
“Collateral success.” the DI sighed. He took out his phone and called up Kay.