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Scotland Yard's Gangbuster (Paperback)

Bert Wickstead’s Most Celebrated Cases

Local History British History True Crime London P&S History

By Dick Kirby
Imprint: Pen & Sword True Crime
Pages: 198
ISBN: 9781526751737
Published: 1st July 2019

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Star review!

'"Careful George, he's tooled up!" This book is a vivid and fascinating account of policing some of the era's most serious crimes, written by an experienced, retired police officer.' – A review by David Pickup for the Law Society Gazette, read the full review here.

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In the late 1960s the Richardson Torture Gang and the Kray Twins were removed from the London scene by ACC Gerry McArthur and Det. Supt. Nipper Read respectively.

Predictably it was not long before the vacuum this left was being filled. With McArthur retired and Read moved on, who was to sort out the new gangland threat?

Step forward Detective Chief Superintendent Bert Wickstead. Having cut his teeth on young desperadoes and neo-Nazis in North London and solved London’s biggest post war bank robbery, Wickstead was well qualified to head up the Yard’s Serious Crime Squad.

First to fall were the Dixon brothers, followed by the Tibbs family. As his fame spread he took on the West End Maltese Syndicate specialising in prostitution and extortion. When he broke up the Norma Levy call-girl ring, two cabinet peers had to resign.

Inevitably Wickstead’s career was dogged by unproved allegations of malpractice but, as this riveting ‘insider’ account conclusively proves, he more than earned his sobriquet ‘The Gangbuster’.

As featured in

The Bookseller 26/4/19

Competition winner announced

True Crime Library Bulletin 511

Dick Kirby, ex-Flying Squad, tells Wickstead’s story, in the style with which readers of his many previous books will be familiar: meticulous detail, admiration and respect for those of his former colleagues that deserved it, and none at all for those he deemed corrupt or incompetent or both. There are some good anecdotes and the book is a worthy tribute to a very successful detective

Police History Society

As featured in competition

True Crime Library, Bulletin 505/6

This book is a vivid and fascinating account of policing some of the era’s most serious crimes, written by an experienced, retired police officer.

The Law Society Gazette

I enjoyed Scotland Yard’s Gangbuster, which is a good biography of an enigmatic and controversial copper.

Ripperologist, January 2019 – reviewed by Paul Begg

Dick Kirby is be be congratulated; this book is difficult to put down

London Police Pensioner Magazine

It’s one of those books that every true-crime fan needs to put on their reading list

Britain's Gangland Magazine

The research and knowledge of the author is extraordinary and it is brilliant that
he records all this material before it is lost. If ex-police officers like Dick do not
research and write up this material it will either never be done or at some stage some
author or academic’s work with little understanding of the milieu will become the
orthodoxy. The work is not bedtime reading and will keep your concentration though
for the aficionados there are inevitably repetition of previously written about cases.
This is probably the first book to concentrate on Wickstead and does not shy from
criticism of Bert or his times.

Surrey Constabulary Journal
 Dick Kirby

About Dick Kirby

Dick Kirby was born in the East End of London and joined the Metropolitan Police in 1967. Half of his twenty-six years’ service was spent with Scotland Yard’s Serious Crime Squad and the Flying Squad.


Kirby contributes to newspapers and magazines on a regular basis, as well as appearing on television and radio. The Guv’nors, The Sweeney, Scotland Yard’s Ghost Squad, The Brave Blue Line, Death on the Beat, Scourge of Soho, London’s Gangs at War, The Mayfair Mafia and Scotland Yard’s Gangbuster are all published under the Pen & Sword True Crime imprint and he has further other published works to his credit. In retirement he lives near Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk. Kirby can be visited at his website: www.dickkirby.com.

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When the Second World War ended, England was bombed-out and starving, with practically every saleable commodity rationed. It was the age of austerity and criminal opportunity. Thieves broke into warehouses, hi-jacked lorries and ransacked railway yards to feed the black market; others stole, recycled or forged ration coupons. Scotland Yard was 6,000 men under strength but something dramatic had to be done – and it was. Four of the Yard’s best informed detectives were summoned to form the Special Duties Squad, which became widely known as the Ghost Squad. They were told: ‘Go out into the…

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