Sisters 33

CHAPTER 33
“Can you get the plate?”

“Not yet, Ma’am. Parked up too close behind the van. Two men, looks like. Another car joining them now”

Hansen. “What are they doing?”

“New arrival and driver of Transit are at the Range Rover, talking to the occupants, looks like. Driver of second car now at rear of Range Rover---ah. Baseball bats, Ma’am, putting them into the van through the side doors”

That made sense, in a criminal way. If Evans got a pull in his van, he would have no way of explaining away the bats as sporting equipment, but in the boot of an upmarket car, with the ‘right sort’ of driver, it could pass easily as being left over from a game. I rang Diane on one of the spare phones.

“Diane, got both vehicles parked up on Tredegar Street. Range Rover with them. Can somebody sneak the licence plate number for Control? Find out who the hell the others might be? Don’t show out, though”

Another incoming call, from Chris. “Hello, darling, you’re not here so I’m trolling off to the Smuggler’s. Ring me when you get this!”

I passed the word, and ten minutes later Diane called in the Range Rover’s number.

“Ma’am, well, I don’t need to run this one. I know it”

“What the fuck? Sorry, what do you mean?”

“Elaine, it’s Dai Pritchard’s car. And it’s three up”

“Got any faces, butt?”

“Not yet. Don’t want to spook them”

"Dead right. Pull back; we have them on the CCTV”

Bloody hell: that bastard was involved, then. Was it Bob Evans with him? Shit. My phone went again: Control.

“Driver of the van is walking away. Heading towards the main road; dark hoody, hood up”

“Thanks Control. The others?”

“Driver of the first car is getting into the Transit cab. Side door of van is open---two, three males now exiting Range Rover. Now in back of van, doors shut. Three males, two heavyset in dark hooded tops. Third one is smaller. Baseball cap and dark hoody”

Back to my other phone. “Chris, leave the phone on. They’re all on plot, five up”

“Diet coke, ice and a slice, watching my figure if I want someone else to watch it, ta!”

“You on silent mode, butt!”

“You’ve got the idea, love!”

He was talking to a barman, I realised. “Leave it running butt, and I’ll keep you up to speed. We now have ID on two of them, probable on a third, possible on the fourth, and I have a nasty feeling about number five. Keep it tight, aye?”

“No, love, just the coke tonight. Two vodkas, and I’m anybody’s, but I prefer to pick the body before I have the drink!”

Ye gods. Were men always that in your face? The phone, again.

“Ma’am, got Evans in situ at the same spot as before, eyeballs on the Smugglers”

Stupid, stupid man. “What’s up with the van?”

“Wait one, Ma’am”

She spoke to someone beside her, the words indistinct, but I caught the word ‘park’.

“The van has pulled off, Ma’am. They are following it as best they can. Nobody’s left at the cars”

“Keep me posted, Control”

“Absolutely. Ma’am, we want this one. For Dai Gould, innit”

“Thanks, butt”

“Ma’am?”

“Aye?”

“Same bloody multi-storey car park as before!”

“Thanks, Control. Stay chilled, aye?”

“Sorry, Ma’am”

I started the others moving in, and then rang Chris. “Jackals are waiting, butt. Evans is at the end of the street, others have the van in the multi-storey”

“Yeah, I did the Pride. Talking of walks, I need some fresh, yeah? No, that wasn’t a come-on. I’ll be back though, darling!”

It was like listening to golden syrup, he was that saccharine. I wondered who or what he was talking to, and for a few moments asked myself if I was ruining his night, but his voice came back, terse and clipped.

“Going out the door now, Lainey. Going for a piss in the carpark”

“Be fucking careful, Chris”

“That’s your job, Lainey”

I heard the street sounds through the phone, the shouts and jeers of a normal night in Cardiff, and then a hollower, quieter sound, as he entered what was clearly the stairwell of the multi-storey.

“Ma’am?”

“Yes, Blake?”

“Control on this one. Evans is following on foot, just about to enter the stairwell. Van’s just driven off”

“Eh?”

“They haven’t got the van on camera. They haven’t got the occupants. Fucking blind spot!”

Shit! “Get the ANPR on it now!”

“Already done”

Suddenly, Chris’ phone came to life with shouting and grunts, and the sickening sound of what could only have been one of the bats. Sod the phones. I grabbed the radio. “All units, the car park, GO GO GO!”

I was out of the car and running, Blake passing me, asp sliding out with a loud click, up the stairs, nobody there, a torn scrap of rainbow belt on the floor by a puddle of piss and a splash of blood. The tracker was useless now. “All units! Back to your vehicles. Tango One has been removed!”

Fuck fuck fuck. Back on the phone. “Control, find him!”

“ANPR ping, Ma’am, west out of city centre. Will vector the plain units. Two traffic cars en route”

What had they done to Chris already? I knew what they had planned, of course, the route they had already taken, but, shit.

“Tie the fucker properly, butt! Cunt just tried to bite me!”

Chris’ phone was still on. “Control? GPS tracker on Mr O’Connor’s phone?”

“Wait one”

Wait a bloody eternity.

“Lansdowne Road, Ma’am”

“Thanks, Control”

“CCTV just picked it up at junction with Cowbridge Road West”

“Get the Traffic boys to stay off the blues and twos, Control. What’s their driving like?”

“Steady, Ma’am. Careful, like”

“OK. We will form up in convoy in the unmarked cars. Get Traffic to sit behind us. We’ll look for a place for a hard stop, and they can come through and light them up, aye?”

“Aye. Yes. Just lost the GPS, Ma’am”

And the sound from his phone. Arse.

Blake took us smoothly through the city, blues on behind the front grille, and the calls came in one by one. We ended up four hundred yards behind the van as it made a very steady and utterly legal course towards Cowbridge, and then Control called in again.

“Both Traffic units are behind you now, Ma’am”

“Thank you Control. Could you alert the air unit just in case?”

"Already done, Ma’am, and I will have a dog unit with you in about---ah, he’s tagged on with the second Traffic car now”

“You are a star!”

“Needs doing, Ma’am”

“Listening, thank you”

I turned to my boy. “Blake, start closing the distance. Time to stop this lot”

For once, given the way things had fallen apart so quickly at the beginning, it went absolutely by the book. Two traffic cars howled past us, lights and sirens going, and as the van slewed to a screeching halt Blake ran our car up the footpath to the side door of the van. I don’t know which of us got there first, but two of the Traffic boys were smashing every window they could get an asp to and someone from the front passenger seat was removed and sprayed in what was feeling like slow motion. I got my hand to the door handle on the side of the van, but it wouldn’t open. The back doors went just as Blake slid over the passenger seat and popped the side door’s lock, and I saw a pale flash of naked skin as I backhanded the first man I met with my own asp.

Shouting, barking, some screaming, and five bodies leg-strapped on the road. Fuck their comfort, fuck them all. He was breathing, that was the thing. Diane took my arm as I looked for someone else to hit.

“Ambulance on way, Ma’am. We might want to sit the prisoners up. Positional asphyxia, yeah?”

I wanted to say no, let them bloody well suffocate, but she was right. Work head on, Lainey Powell, work head on. “How’s Chris?”

“Bruised. He’s already making shit jokes about getting a bit of rough, and doing it for the queen, but he’s really shaken”

“Who’ve we got? Let’s get the formal bit over with, once I catch my breath”

They were searched on the ground, then sat up, and I dug out my torch.

“Right! I am Inspector Elaine Powell of the Dyfed-Powys Police, on secondment to South Wales, just so you know. All five of you are under arrest on suspicion of kidnap, rape, grievous bodily harm, assault, and that will do for Custody purposes. You do not have to say anything, but it may harm your defence if you fail to mention when questioned something which you later rely on in court. Anything you do say may be given in evidence. Do you understand? Yes? OK, let’s see who you are!”

Matthew Hansen.

Jamie Richard Evans.

Dai fucking Pritchard, who tried to spit at me.

Bob Evans, as I should have guessed. He called me a number of things

Number five. Shit. I gave the cunt as sweet a smile as I could, while paramedics went to help Chris.

“Hello! We haven’t met, but I believe you might know my sister”

Joe Evans.

Work head, Lainey. Work head. “Get them into vans, get them back, and no accidents with them, boys and girls!”

Joe fucking Evans.



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