CHAPTER XXII
The Flying Squad

THE WAR GAVE RISE to several new offences. One of these was the melting down of gold and silver coin, at a time when the metal was worth far more than the face value of the coins. This offence continued after the war. In one case a raid made on the East End resulted in the discovery of a smelting works run by amateurs. The detectives found a furnace in full blast, crucibles full of coins, thirteen silver ingots, and an ingot of gold weighing fifty-nine pounds and worth about £5,600. Soon afterwards the C.I.D. unmasked a big conspiracy for dealing with gold coin. The men involved in it were not professional criminals. Among them were a barrister, a jeweller, and a moneylender. The first intimation that irregularities were going on came to the police when it was reported that a certain man of substance was exchanging large numbers of banknotes for gold. In this there was nothing illegal; it might have been the eccentricity of a wealthy man who preferred to hoard his money in gold, and at the outset this theory was probably right; but it was thought wise to consult a well-known inquiry agency conducted by a former chief inspector of Scotland Yard, who reported that gold was being dealt with illegally on an extensive scale.

The wealthy "crank" already mentioned had received a visit from a gentleman of doubtful antecedents who had dazzled him with a scheme that appeared fairly safe as well

-262-

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