Hi there it's Nick Wood the writer here, and welcome to my (chronically un-updated!) blog about my Police autobiography - Police Don't Move! ... well sometimes we do.
Its a compendium of the most unforgettable jobs, gifted to me over my decade on the road as a constable on Australia's crazy Gold Coast.
Please enjoy the 1st chapter of the book
by reading on below.
Buy it now for under $5 on Apple (if you use an IOS device to read books)
Buy it now for under $5 on Amazon (for all the other readers out there)
Free First Chapter
I recall the day well. A rare 8am to 4pm admin shift with three of us off to Southport Magistrates Court to do earnest battle with the forces of evil in the eternal fight against crime. Actually I can’t remember one single detail of the trial we were heading too – I just remember our abject joy when the defendant meekly nodded his guilt before the court sat, and we were set free with a whole untasked day ahead of us.
We started trolling in our marked car, down the Gold Coast Highway towards Broadbeach with not a care in the world. Paused at a set of traffic lights, the three of us were sucking up the sunshine and minding our own business when abruptly stuff happened to jog us back into reality.
A screech of brakes on the cross street and a blaring horn make my head swivel to see a callow male youth - on a chicks pushbike violently swerving his way around moving traffic with inches to spare. I can still picture his grimaced face and manically pumping legs as he swung left to cross in front of us. Oh yes and his silly yellow hair. That’s right folks, he was also allegedly guilty of the heinous offence of failing to wear a bicycle helmet. Watch this space, it gets even worse! As he crossed in front of us at the speed of light, he looked over registering the fact that we were the enemy as it were. With the devil - may - care disposition of a champion jockey he rose in his seat and with a practiced flourish, downs his dreadful generation X shorts to stun us with his blindingly white bottom. I truly believe that a person gazing in our windscreen would have seen three faces looking out with a mixture of incredulity and resignation. Why resignation?
Well let me digress momentarily. Being a copper in a marked car brings with it some baggage. Whether or not you want to see something is largely immaterial - save for in the middle of the bloody desert perhaps. As you can imagine on the mean streets there are always eyes upon you. Busy little beady eyes connected to brains and fingers that can call bosses and email newspapers, write pithy letters to MP’s and generally give cops piles. Eyes that have agendas, and even worse, when they reach their dotage, plenty of spare time to prosecute them! So spare us a thought. Here we were, three uniformed coppers at a busy intersection with lines of traffic on all sides. And all those drivers copping an eyeful of yellow hair’s antics. Shit, fuck, – arrggghh.
With an audible sigh, my mate driving pulled forward, put on the lights and motioned for this clown to pull up at the kerb. Well of course that would have been far, far too easy. So instead, he took off at a great rate of knots across yet more oncoming traffic and into a local park. We had noticed at this point that he was also juggling a leather briefcase in one hand whilst weaving and lurching across the grass on this bike that was several sizes too small for him. Hmmm, a kid like that sporting a briefcase? On his way to the office perhaps; or more likely someone else was on their way to their office, minus their briefcase.
At first we were able to use the roadway in the park to keep pace with him but alas he soon tore off cross country as it were. So out of the car we got, leaving the driver to double back to the other side of the park. All things being equal, yellow hair should have well and truly outrun us, but fate intervened on our side. He hit a patch of shaded grass slick with dew and over he went, him and pushie one way and the briefcase the other. As we puffed our way up to him I distinctly remember him sitting up, pointing to the case and proclaiming: ‘It’s not mine, hey it’s absolutely not mine!’ Well there’s a good honest start I’m thinking. No lengthy interviews here, no listening to hours of crappy lies and waiting for an officer at some station nearby to load the stolen briefcase crime file onto the computer. With any luck the loser will have reported the theft and we can reunite him with his property, charge old mate accordingly and still make something of our day.
While my partner was having a chat to yellow hair, I turned my attention to the case. Inside was, handily, his student ID card complete with photo, one or two folders, a couple of exercise books and some glass test tubes, mostly intact. The tubes were obviously used because they had an off-white scum coating their interiors. My antenna began to twitch a bit so I hunted further. At the bottom of the case was a fair sized bundle of cash register receipts held together with a clip, about fifty or so at least. Surprise, surprise, they were all from assorted pharmacies from various towns 100km each side of us, all dated in the past two days ... and all for one product. Yes, some of you can probably guess what that product was. Old mate must have had a Guinness world record dose of the flu as he had apparently felt the need to buy over ninety packets of Sudafed.
For those who don’t know, this popular over the counter flu medicine contains a good dose of pseudoephedrine – to clear the head, nose etc. Long ago drug cooks interested in making amphetamine, (speed, goey etc), found that they could extract the pseudoephedrine from the tablets as their base ingredient.
To cook up a worthwhile batch of speed, a lot of Sudafed is needed, so they organize what has become known as ‘sudi runs’. Sometimes alone, or sometimes in teams they will simply call in to every pharmacy in the region and buy as much Sudafed as they can. With the profit margins for the street sales of the finished product as high as 3000 percent, cash is no problem, and often hundreds and hundreds of packets of this stuff are bought in a day. Now there are restrictions in place to deter this with positive ID needed to buy even a single packet, but back then it was basically open slather.
So what we had here was pretty strong circumstantial evidence that pseudo boy was in some way tied up in the manufacture of amphetamines. It seems that he was on his way home, as the address on the student card was only a street away. With pseudo boy maintaining no knowledge of the briefcase and loudly protesting his innocence, we put him, (and bike), in the car and offered him a lift home.
Picture your typical canal front two storey house – only an obvious rental gone to seed with ragged lawns and mess all about. Just by the way, what is it with dodgy tenants and furniture? How come the faux leather lounge always ends up out in the weather in the yard, ripped, sad and covered in pet fur, while the cracked and faded pool crap bejewels the lounge room with its presence? Tell me and we’ll both know I guess.
Pseudo head gives us some bullshit about not having a key and not really living there anyway and, and, and. A short quiet conversation relating to a day comprised of austere interview rooms, fingerprints and lots of boring paperwork and he discovers he does in fact live there, does have a key, and invites us in for a sticky beak.
A distinctive sharp chemical odor greets us and it looks like this is the ‘kitchen’ as well as just a place to buy. Ignoring the almost inevitable bongs, scissors and mull - (cut or ground up cannabis, sometimes with tobacco mixed in), on the dining table, our noses lead us upstairs where we came upon a bedroom converted into what looks for all the world like a mad chemist’s lab. There are gas burners, bunsen burners and flasks and tubes scattered everywhere. The obligatory clipseal bags lie in piles on a bench and at least forty empty Sudafed packets are strewn all over the floor. A three gallon bottle of acetone sits on a chair, along with some other dastardly looking potions, most of them sporting skull and crossbones warning stickers. The stink is hideous but we stay just long enough to see that nothing is turned on and bubbling away at that moment.
A specialist squad, (Illicit Laboratory Investigation Team or ILIT), in Brisbane handles clandestine drug labs and we know enough to secure the joint and get the hell out into fresh air. The fumes emitted in the chemical processes of extracting the pseudoephedrine from the Sudafed and then converting that into amphetamine are nothing short of deadly. Worse than that, at certain stages in the process they are explosive as well. To give you some idea of the noxious effect of this manufacturing process, it’s not unusual to discover old cooking rooms with melted carpet and bubbled discolored paint; all from the fumes.
Pseudo boy was by this time looking very sad and sorry for himself and meekly came to sit in the back of our car while we made arrangements. It took a couple of hours to organize the ILIT boys to attend, and in the meantime we learn that old mate has a clutch of drug possession and supply convictions and some unfinished business with the courts interstate. His phone rings regularly and we get quite a few good numbers to pass to our intelligence folks. Even better, some brain dead fool walks right past our marked car and knocks on the door of the house! He coughed up a small baggy of speed, a few crumbly old joints and an arrest warrant. Some days it’s like stealing corn from blind chooks really!
The ILIT team arrived and after donning their protective chem suits and air cylinders, set to work rendering the house safe before starting the detailed process of photographing and collecting the evidence. As the pile of equipment and ingredients begins to emerge from the house, we realize that this is a fair bit more than just a backyard operation to supply a few friends. When it’s all done and dusted, it fills the back of two police wagons with little room to spare. Also seized is a snappy looking laptop computer, around 10 oz of street-ready speed and around $7000 in cash.
We hand pseudo boy over to the detectives, and took our other new genious friend to the station for processing. As a courtesy, the owner of the house was identified and informed of the slight breach of the lease. My guess is that old mate will be house hunting when he is finished with the detectives. I’d also guess from the state of the place, he may not be looking at getting quite all of his bond back.
A week or so later I had a call from the ILIT team bringing me up to date on the investigation. What we had stumbled across was a sizable and active ‘cook house’ making amphetamine every three days or so for sale on the Gold Coast, Logan and Brisbane. Even more interesting was the fact that it seems pseudo boy was setting up to cook a batch of an amphetamine hybrid called methcatinone, not previously seen in the state. But the best bit – the lap top coughed up all his accounts, a customer list of nicknames with phone numbers and his cash flow – over $20 000.00 per month for the past four months. It was apparently enough to support the very serious charge of trafficking a dangerous drug, rather than simple production. Don’t you just love an organized crook!
I actually managed to make it along to his first appearance at the Southport Court a fortnight or so later. I didn’t need to give evidence or anything, and I personally had nothing against the lad. It’s just that I had one last piece of paperwork to give him. His $25 ticket for ‘cyclist fail to wear approved helmet’. Nice chaps that we were, we had elected to let the willful exposure slide!
And for those of you who are interested, after it was over he pled guilty in the District Court to trafficking in a dangerous drug as well as a brace of lesser charges and was sent to the bin for 18 months. He forfeited the cash, equipment and computer and was ordered to pay his landlord a couple of thousand in restitution. As for his helmet ticket? The little bastard never paid so now it’s a warrant. And so it goes.
... and with that,
there's another 15 chapters waiting for you
in the full ebook - such as:
"Monster Washing me" - Japan meets the unique Australian suburbia
"That Offal Day" - When the
rubber .. err, the farmyard, meets the highway
"Sunday Bloody Sunday" - Nope
this one ain't funny; ain't freaking funny at all! In fact the beginning of the
end for me as a non-crazy person. Sigh.
"Naked Ambition" - It
all happens in the 'burbs'! Booze, drugs, mood lighting and lustful desires -
what could possibly go wrong?
Buy it now for under $5 on Apple (for IOS devices)
Buy it now for under $5 on Amazon (for all other readers out there)
.. and let me know what you think.