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on 10 December 2008
I suppose I am in a slightly more fortunate position to most as I can relate to the majority of the content of this book, being a retired Detective in the Nottinghamshire Force. The book itself is a detailed and informative history of the crime gangs that have plagued the City over the years. As a read, I found it controversial, and suprisingly accurate. My congratulations to the author for having the guts to be as honest as possible, and for laying bare the sometimes frightening truth about Nottingham's underworld. A compulsive read.
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on 11 August 2015
Thoroughly enjoyed this. Mentioned this to someone at work and he thought i was joking that these things happen in real life in this country! yes it is real life that has a massive degree of sadness for the majority of the people involved. From the extremely greedy to the extremely desperate individuals who get mixed up in this dangerous world. The sadness is noy for them but the innocent people it affects!
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on 2 June 2015
As a current resident of Nottingham and someone who has a working interest in the criminal side of the city, I had been recommended this book by colleagues. Perhaps I was naive but I had no idea of the real extent of the issue. Although I could say something about the standard of editing, it was an eye opener.
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on 27 March 2013
This book shows how easily gangs can take over an Estate by using and paying youths to do there bidding. Shows parents what to watch out for but best of all shows how once they fall the motto "never Grass" goes out the window. When push comes to shove there is NO honour amoung thieves. These people only get power by being nasty bullies but it shows too that they DO get caught in the end. Now they are just criminals behind bars and I bet they would give everything they had to be FREE. The world is a safer place without Thugs like this. Great Book WELL written by Carl Fellstrom
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on 10 February 2013
I love true life crime books and this lived up to my expectations,very well written and obviously well reasearched.I found it truely amazing how the police could do nothing about this crimewave by this family,it shows how much fear these type of criminals can instill in ordinary citizens,i really enjoyed this read and would not hesitate to recommend it to followers of true crime.
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VINE VOICEon 21 December 2010
According to legend Robin Hood took on and defeated the Sheriff of Nottingham in defence of the traditional rights and privileges of the common people. The robbing hoods of the late twentieth and early twenty first centuries were more interested in themselves than others and were ruthless in their pursuit of wealth and power. The author notes that since 1995 both alcohol and illicit drugs have become cheap and readily available. Amongst the groups organising the distribution of drugs was Colin Gunn and the Bestwood Cartel. Weapons were an additional problem. Ownership of guns was tightened in the wake of the Hungerford and Dunblane massacres. However, many decommissioned guns were re-activated by simple engineering work. They were also cheap to buy. Nottingham attracted an unwanted reputation as the nation's gun capital. It was a reputation that led to the involvement of the National Crime Squad.

By 2001 Nottingham police were almost ready to pounce and put the Bestwood Cartel away when they were halted in their tracks by a directive to concentrate on targets rather than crime and the causes of crime. Politically inspired attempts to increase efficiency led directly to a loss of effectiveness. Colin Gunn's range of contacts was immense and it was by using those contacts (and friends of friends) that Gunn was able to locate John and Joan Stirling who had moved to Trusthorpe in Lincolnshire. They had done so because Joan's son from her previous marriage, Michael O'Brien, murdered a young man named Marvyn Bradshaw. Showing no remorse O'Brien taunted Bradshaw's family from the dock. Shortly afterwards Bradshaw's best mate, Jamie Gunn, Colin Gunn's nephew, died from grief aided by drugs and alcohol. Gunn wanted revenge and organised the murder of the Stirlings. Having sighted two men near her bungalow Joan Stirling contacted the police. Seven hours later an officer visited the house and found the dead bodies of the couple.

Colin Gunn and his brother David were career criminals. Their contacts included some police officers, one of whom regularly fed information to the Bestwood Cartel. Nottingham police had been in the dock thirty years earlier accused of planting evidence on members of the Jamacian community. Although cannabis use was well known at the time its peddlars were not usually violent. When crack cocaine arrived in 1989 it was accompanied by extreme violence as addicts were driven to demand more and gangs of Yardies were asked to sort out problems amongst their fellow islanders. It was the era of the homeboy and the organisation of criminal gangs known as Posses. The leader of one such Posse was Dave Francis who had the perfect cover working as a manager of a drugs charity. Once the Posses were broken the Bestwood Cartel moved in to fill the breach.

Gunn's primary weapons were fear and violence. He orchestrated a robbery at a jewellery shop in Arnold, just outside Nottingham, in which one of the owners, Marian Bates, was shot and killed. The case was national news. Marian Bates's husband, Victor, later accused Steve Green, the Chief Constable of Nottingham, of being "a menace to law and order" whose withdrawal of police officers on the beat had allowed criminals to flourish. Although some involved in the robbery were caught the man suspected of carrying out the murder is still missing. Similarly, numerous deaths attributable to drug debts remain unsolved. Those who were brought to justice were people with no respect for human life. They were eventually brought down by traditional police work, including 81 separate operations, starting with the lower levels of organised crime and eventually reaching the leadership including Colin Gunn, John and Rob Dawes of the Dawes Cartel and Gary Hardy who owned forty four properties and a string of luxery cars.

Colin Gunn was sentenced to a minimum term of 35 years before he is eligible for parole. Once in jail he was quickly involved with violence and until earlier this year was using Facebook to continue threatening people. Although the removal of the Bestwood Cartel means Nottingham is no longer known as assassination city, this is as much a reflection of the increase in crime elsewhere. The Independent Police Complaints Commission reported the Nottinghamshire Force failed in its responsibility to protect John and Joan Stirling. Three officers retired, another five were considered to have fallen below the professional standards expected of them. The Force now has a dedicated police protection unit.

Social change, including longer drinking hours, changing use of resources, human rights legislation and all other areas where politicans think they need to be active to be effective, appear to have out-flanked the forces of law and order. Perhaps attendance to basic policing and intelligence gathering rather than politically correct procedures may produce effective change but with cuts in public sector expenditure and a Justice Minister wanting to reduce the number of criminals sent to jail, the future for law abiding citizens looks as uncertain as ever. A five star book.
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on 28 September 2012
I felt compelled to read this book for two reasons:
1) I grew up in Nottingham
2) I remember one of the events described occurring in my neighbourhood.
Perhaps this makes me biased but nonetheless, I thought the author provided an insightful account of how that event linked into Nottingham's gangland culture. It also made me realise how blissfully unaware I was about the scale of these events and the corruption occurring at the time. Definitely an eye-opening read and a frighteningly detailed and informative account of what can really happen on our streets.
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on 9 November 2012
I found this a very gripping and balanced book that i could not put down. I'm a relatively slow reader and have been know to have a book on the bedside table for over a year. This one on my kindle was pollished off in three days! Well researched with details that ring true to a local girl.
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on 11 November 2014
I found this book a great read, particularly as it is real and local. The content has been extensively researched and the book has been written in a way that kept me captivated from beginning to end. I thoroughly recommend you read this book if you comprehend the events that happen for real in our cities.
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on 23 March 2013
I have not lived in Nottingham since 1968. I was born and spent my youth there, never had any worries about safety then. Now live in the States and have to say it sounds worse than here, kind of burst my bubble about my hometown.
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