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Hijack racket's 'top man' carried pistol, says QC

15th October 1971
Page 18
Page 18, 15th October 1971 — Hijack racket's 'top man' carried pistol, says QC
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Keywords : Chadwell, Tozer, Law / Crime

37 in £342,000 haul: nine face charges

• An assize jury heard last week that a Sutton Coldfield man was at the top of a nationwide lorry hijacking racket and carried a Luger pistol "as a persuader for troublemakers".

The jury at Hertford Assizes was told by Mr John Leonard, QC, prosecuting, that a man, Anthony Michael Turner, 30, of Winchester Court, Walsall Road, Four Oaks, had pleaded guilty to charges of conspiring to steal and handling stolen property and was awaiting sentence. "There can be no doubt he was right at the top", he said.

Nine men in the dock face charges ranging from conspiracy to steal to handling stolen goods. All have pleaded not guilty.

Mr Leonard said the hijacking of lorries was on a big scale throughout the country and was operated by an organization with the help of men experienced in the disposing of the goods. He alleged that 37 men were involved in the racket, with the stolen goods totalling £342,000.

The base for the disposal of stolen goods was premises at Chadwell Heath, Essex, which had been taken over by Terance Charles Tozer, whom Mr Leonard described as "the principal villain".

Between August 25 and November 20 1969 a total of 11 lorries and their loads arrived at the Chadwell Heath premises with goods worth a total of £123,000. Other lorries and their loads were disposed of elsewhere.

Mr Leonard told the jury: "Tozer was a principal participant in what went on at his premises. Some things can be said in his favour. For example, he gave anonymous information which led to the recovery of cigarettes worth £55,000. However, he was a party to the crime on which he will be giving evidence for the Crown."

Burly, red-bearded Mr Tozer told the jury how his warehouse was used for disposal of stolen goods. Turner, he said, figured in all the operations and he alleged

that one of the nine men in the dock, Peter Anderson, 27, a lorry driver of Osborne Road, Jesmond, Newcastle upon Tyne, was another key figure. Mr Tozer said it was Anderson who first approached him in 1969 with a proposition to use his warehouse for storing goods. He later found out that the goods mentioned were stolen and he became involved. He told how a load of 5,295,000 cigarettes was brought to the warehouse and later the lorry was dumped in the north of London.

Mr Tozer said two of the others accused were involved in this operation and on Turner's instruction he tipped off the CID where to pick up the abandoned lorry. He added that a haul of rum was then brought to his warehouse and Anderson and Turner were involved in disposing of it. He said that indirectly he was involved in this operation by taking 25 cases of the rum to Ponders End for Turner. Mr Tozer said that he also assisted Anderson, Turner and others to dispose of a large haul of peanuts and about 400 oil heaters.

Turner and he, said Mr Tozer, went to Bury St Edmunds to sell 40 of the heaters to another of the accused. On the journey to the farm he saw a Luger pistol in a paper parcel.

"I asked him, what is that for?" and Turner replied, "This is my persuader when I'm .expecting trouble."

The trial, which continues, is expected to last six weeks.

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