Some unfortunate would get a right pasting and sometimes they never knew why," the associate said. According to former associates, Colin Gunn also had a penchant for teenage girls. One woman, who fears for her life to this day, told me how she was first sought out by Gunn on a night out. She is now in witness protection. A number of people told me about regular incidents where Colin would pop cash into an envelope and card and post it to elderly people who were celebrating birthdays. One year the brothers paid for a huge firework display on Guy Fawkes Night for all the community to enjoy.
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Our Privacy Notice explains more about how we use your data, and your rights. You can unsubscribe at any time. Thank you for subscribingWe have more newsletters Show me See our privacy notice Invalid Email In the third of a series of exclusive abridged extracts from his book Hoods, journalist Carl Fellstrom examines the influence of the Dawes brothers and Gary Hardy — and a mystery millionaire One man who has not featured yet remains the most powerful organised crime figure in Nottingham.
For legal reasons we shall call him the Taxman. He is a legend in his own right, controlling the money end of drug dealing throughout the East Midlands.
He also has legitimate business interests stretching across the country. Many drug dealers who need collateral for the products they will smuggle into the UK will go to the Taxman for funding. It is a profitable route for them if they believe they can turn around their drugs quickly to beat his extortionate interest rates.
If their shipment gets busted they know what to expect: they may be in hock to the Taxman for the rest of their lives. The Taxman prefers his borrowers not to pay up in full so the bill keeps going up and up with the interest. He is also known to take protection money when business executives come to him seeking help after being pursued by other crooks. On one occasion a businessman who was being threatened by the Bestwood Cartel approached the Taxman to sort it out, saying he was not prepared to pay the Cartel but would pay the Taxman if he could deal with it.
The Taxman said it would cost a couple of grand to do it and, true to form, the matter was sorted. What the businessman was not aware of was that the Taxman split the money with the Bestwood Cartel.
He is a millionaire and generates a climate of fear; it is highly unlikely that anyone will squeal on him or get close enough to be able to hurt him. Police believe that he has used his legitimate business interests to launder drug money.
He is also said to have a number of former police officers who he can call upon for help. He is able legitimately to have large amounts of cash going through his books at any one time and that is the kind of business that drug dealers like best of all.
It means that they can wash the money and it will not be traceable without an extremely determined investigation. The Taxman also knows that senior police officers are loathe to sanction any major investigations into him for fear of failing and falling foul of the expensive lawyers he can afford to hire. He is well respected and known by almost all the major villains in Nottingham and by many legitimate businessmen as well.
He also resolves disputes such as problems between rival criminal gangs. On one occasion, a man charged with killing a member of the travelling community was under threat after the court case against him collapsed. He went to see the Taxman to sort it out, otherwise he would be looking over his shoulder for the rest of his life. The dispute was resolved but for twelve months the man was forced to carry out money-collecting duties for the Taxman, visiting poor families who had been so desperate they had borrowed money and had fallen behind with payments.
The authorities continue to keep a close check on the Taxman. He remains as elusive as ever. But not everyone has managed to remain so elusive. They ran a multi-million-pound drugs empire from a small house in Tudor Street, Sutton-in-Ashfield. Like his pal Colin Gunn, John Dawes eschewed life within the legitimate working world. He lived almost exclusively, according to his own accounts, as a jobless man claiming benefits.
His hot-headed brother Rob was operating from Spain from onwards, organising shipments of cannabis resin and cocaine, while the rest of the gang organised wholesale deliveries of amphetamines and heroin, mainly from Liverpool and Runcorn. Until , they operated almost undetected. Then police in Nottinghamshire launched Operation Normality with the help of the National Crime Squad and customs investigators.
By , it would receive additional resources with the sanctioning of Operation Starburst by law enforcement agencies in London. By , this close-knit group was importing so many drugs that they had a backlog, so they began to bury large amounts underground in coded locations in woodland in Sutton-in-Ashfield.
On 1 June , investigators made their first major inroad into the gang when they discovered a drugs production unit at Colwick. They were staggered by the scale of the operation and three middle-men were arrested. John and Rob Dawes flew out to Malaga with some haste the same month. John flew back to the UK in September Police just kept watching. A National Crime Squad investigation revealed links between large-scale drugs shipments flowing from Spain, Holland and Belgium and the cartels runs by the Dawes family and the Bestwood Cartel.
All roads were leading back to Nottinghamshire and southern Spain, where Rob Dawes was still holed up. Officers began to take a closer look at the financial transactions of the gang. In addition, members of the gang were logged on more than 40 flights coming in and out of Malaga and Amsterdam over a two-and-a-half year period. One told how he had been beaten senseless by John Dawes with a baseball bat on two occasions. By late spring , the Dawes Cartel began to unravel as John Dawes himself was arrested.
Having lost many of his troops, he had been forced to get hands-on. It pulled up and John Dawes got into the vehicle for a short time and then got out with a carrier bag. Rob Dawes and Gary Hardy remained at large, but police felt sure it would only be a matter of time before they tripped up. No sooner had police dealt with John Dawes than they began to set their sights on Hardy.
Hardy went to trial in June accused of conspiring to supply heroin, cocaine, amphetamines and cannabis. The trial was held under the tightest security ever seen at Nottingham Crown Court.
He was still serving his twelve-year sentence in when he decided to approach a solicitor and then got in touch with Crimestoppers. Hardy himself had a fleet of luxury cars which could not have come from his legitimate business dealings. In August , after a three-month trial, the jury came back with guilty verdicts against Hardy. The forty-five-year-old was found guilty of conspiracy to supply heroin and amphetamines, money-laundering and possession of criminal property.
He was jailed for twenty years. The Dutch police and Notts Police still want to talk to him about drug shipments and a murder.
Robert Dawes to face French court next year over 1. Nottingham born Robert Dawes, 45, is charged with organising a 1. According to French investigators, the operation against Dawes began on 8 July when information was received that a large consignment of cocaine was going to be sent from Venezuela to France via a passenger flight. The information stated that a British organised crime group was behind the shipment. More information came through to French investigators enabling them to tag Roissy airport about 20 miles from the centre of Paris as the destination point.
Hoods: Terrifying power of 'The Taxman'
Our Privacy Notice explains more about how we use your data, and your rights. You can unsubscribe at any time. Thank you for subscribingWe have more newsletters Show me See our privacy notice Invalid Email In the third of a series of exclusive abridged extracts from his book Hoods, journalist Carl Fellstrom examines the influence of the Dawes brothers and Gary Hardy — and a mystery millionaire One man who has not featured yet remains the most powerful organised crime figure in Nottingham. For legal reasons we shall call him the Taxman. He is a legend in his own right, controlling the money end of drug dealing throughout the East Midlands. He also has legitimate business interests stretching across the country.