Have I ever told you about my mate "Steve the Whelk"? When we all left school, we followed diverse paths. Some of us became lawyers, some of us became musicians, some of us became surveyors. Steve got a job in the family business, running a whelk stall with his Dad. To be honest, it was far more than that. It was a seafood business, and Steve would tour the pubs of London, selling, prawns, cockles, mussels and whelks to hungry punters. At weekends, they would run stalls outside football matches, at races and all manner of other events.
Despite having flunked his exams, Steve is an extremely bright bloke. He soon realised that there was more money to be made from supplying fish products to restaurants, pubs and cafe's than there was going around selling them to punters. Within a few years, he was running a multi million pound business, importing and exporting fish around the globe.
His success did not go unnoticed by the authorities. They became convinced that Steve was running the business as a cover for a large drug importation scheme. A large raid on his fish processing plant was planned and executed. A large team of customs officers, backed by the police descended on the plant, which was virtually ripped apart. Despite HM Customs and Excise claiming to have cast iron intelligence provided by a 'source' inside Steve's business, there was absolutely nothing turned up. Furthermore as the raid resulted in a factory full of fish becoming contaminated and unfit for human consumption, Steve put a huge claim in for compensation.
Steve turned up for an old school reunion a couple of years after. We'd all heard the story and offered our sympathy. Steve told us that it was fine. He'd actually made a large profit on the compensation, as what was in the factory at the time was largely offcuts and trimmings destined for the cat food factory, all of the quality fish had gone out in the morning and the next shipment hadn't arrived for processing. I remarked that this was a very lucky occurrance. Steve replied "Nah, not really, I knew I had a a rat on the team, I twigged they were going to raid me, so I bugged his phone, fed 'em a load of moody information, and made sure they came as we were doing up the catfood delivery".
We were all suitably impressed. One of my friends said "Yeah, but how did you know he was a rat?". Steve burst out laughing and said "You don't get anywhere in this game if you can't smell when there is something fishy going on!".
Yeah, I know.....
Have a great weekend.