A valuable cargo has gone missing in violent circumstances which includes the death of a Security Service patrol officer.
Despite this, within a matter of minutes the whole incident disappears beneath a large blanket of press blackouts and clandestine meetings.
Something sinister is going on and as soon as The Commander gets onto the case it becomes clear that someone is trying to raise a lot of cash by very illegitimate means!!
The second novel in the 'Leytonstone Trilogy' sets up the scene for what follows in 'Leytonstone' itself.
A lot of forged money lies at the heart of this story and what most of it is intended to be used for is the key to the plot.
"This is a hell of a large load for one shipment" the loading supervisor remarked with concern as the final large wooden crate was hoisted aboard the large white unmarked articulated lorry alongside three other equally heavy identical crates all of which bore no indication whatsoever on the outside as to their contents.
"The boss says put four crates on" the fork lift operator remarked casually as he withdrew the forks from beneath the crate and pulled back "Then four crates is exactly what he gets. You don't argue with that kind of authority."
"No, I suppose not" the loading supervisor agreed as he drew across the curtain side of the lorry trailer and then secured the clips.
With the load now safely on board, the supervisor ticked off the details on his clipboard before walking to the front of the truck where he opened the drivers cab door.
"All right mate" the supervisor called to the driver and the Security Guard who was also sat in the cab "she is all aboard, secured and ready to roll" he confirmed as he handed the clipboard over.
"Lovely stuff" the jolly driver responded with a cheery smile and a thumbs up before the supervisor closed the cab door and turned to a Security Service officer stood near a marked patrol motorcycle and also gave him a thumbs up.
"Lima Echo X-Ray control from Three Zero One" the officer called into his radio as he mounted his motorbike.
"Control receiving, pass your message" came the swift businesslike response.
"Consignment secured, ready for roll out" the officer confirmed as he looked around.
"Convoy Alpha from Control" the radio replied "You may proceed to location number one when ready."
"Roger Control" the officer responded as he started the engine of his motorcycle, this being the cue for the three other Security Service motorcycle officers to start their own machines which filled the loading area of the warehouse with the sound of revving engines to which was added the truck starting up as well.
"Ok lads" the leading officer declared over the radio "Let's get this party started."
The loading supervisor duly went over to the large roller shutter doors and pressed the control panel buttons which saw the huge door lift upwards, letting in a large shaft of daylight into the otherwise rather murkier interior of the building.
The commanding officer of the escort for the truck led the way out of the building where out in the yard he signalled to an unmarked Security Service car with four officers of the Specialist Armed Response Division who followed in line to the rear of
the convoy as it left the site through the heavily guarded gate, the only means of exit from the site through a very secure twenty feet high security fence.
The convoy duly proceeded silently through the near deserted roads of the industrial estate until it emerged out onto the dual carriageway of the main road which unusually for this time on a Tuesday morning was noticeably quiet.
This was a regular job for the crew of the lorry, one of three shipments that they made along a constantly varied route every week, a route known only to the driver of the lorry and the supervising officer of the escort.
Light traffic on the main road through Debden on the outer north eastern edge of Greater London meant that the convoy made an uninhibited and swift progress on its journey north to a specialist facility in Bedfordshire.
Today however was a little different for as the truck with its escort passed around a roundabout, they were joined by a distinctive red painted and marked Security Service patrol car which entered the flow of traffic behind them and followed discreetly for a couple of miles.
As the usual run of endless housing estates thinned out and the main road now passed through open countryside, the patrol car proceeded to overtake the truck and then raced on ahead until it pulled into the lane ahead of them and continued to match the convoy's speed some one hundred metres in front of them.
"Ere Garry" the truck driver called to his mate "Did control mention anything about any extra escorts from the fuzz?"
"No one mentioned it in the office" Dave confirmed "Maybe this guy was in the area and thought he would tag along."
The convoy carried on with the patrol car maintaining its distance ahead of them for a couple more miles until just as it began to rain and the traffic reduced to such a level that they were able to push the boundaries of the speed limit, the patrol car suddenly slammed on its brakes.
"What the hell...?" the truck's driver exclaimed as he was forced to slam on the brakes himself in order to avoid a collision which caused the articulated trailer section to jack knife alarmingly, knocking down one of the motorcycle outriders in the process.
The truck with its trailer now almost at right angles to it blocking the width of the carriageway shuddered to a halt as four men in Security Service uniforms emerged from the patrol cars, brandishing semi-automatic weapons which they had no reluctance about firing up into the air indiscriminately.
The officers on the motorcycles instinctively reacted as did the Armed Response Unit team by drawing their own weapons but as they were about to open fire in defence, a large van pulled up to the rear of the stationary convoy.
From the roller shutter door at the back of the van emerged a further half dozen armed men who in a matter of moments amid a hail of gunfire, disabled the officers.
"Oh hell, we are in trouble now" the truck driver remarked alongside to his mate as with the sound of gunfire dieing down the obvious leader of the armed raiders turned his attention towards them, approaching the cab of the lorry with a deliberately implied menace.
"Out!" he barked, pointing his gun at the two men through the windscreen with clear insistence.
"Yeah, all right mate" the driver nervously agreed "take it easy, we are coming out."
Apprehensively, and with their hands up, the crew of the lorry got out of their vehicle, climbing down the cab steps where as soon as their feet reached the road surface, they were swiftly bundled to the ground face down before being searched and then restrained using plastic bindings.
"All right" the leader called, "let's get this wrapped up" he declared.
With that command, the men duly began to carry the injured Security Service officers into the back of the van whilst others removed the wrecked motorbike from the scene.
"Ere' boss!" one of the men called over "This fella is still alive" he indicated the badly injured Security Service officer who had been knocked off his motorbike in the initial incident, now lying up against his motorbike by the side of the carriageway."
"Sorry mate" the leader marked as he casually drew his gun and fired a single shot, finishing off the officer before he returned to the lorry crew.
"Look mate" the driver tried to reason with the leader of the gang, especially in light of what had just occurred "We are just a couple of ordinary guys earning a crust."
"Don't panic lads" the leader reassured them "Our Guvnor was insistent on no civilian casualties" he explained as he indicated to two of his men to take the lorry crew away.
With the debris and bodies removed from the carriageway, the leader and one of his men got in the lorry cab and started the powerful engine whilst the rest of the gang returned to their vehicles or got on the motorcycles and into the ARU's unit car before the convoy set off once more leaving behind an empty road as if nothing had ever happened.
As the last man to leave the scene on a seized Security Service motorcycle was about to depart at the tail end of the convoy however, he tossed down onto the road a Security Service warrant card and uniform epaulette that he had removed from his pocket before accelerating away.