Next tour: Tue 23 Apr 2013.
Meet: Manchester Visitor Information Centre, 2.30pm.
Bring: Cuffs, collar to be felt, and a Quality Street Gang membership card.
End: Pleading “Not guilty, m’lud.”
Manchester has long been at the mercy of gangs, gangsters and gantsermuchers: Victorian roughs, bent cops, small-time hoods, deranged cops, “God’s cop”, cops in velvet-collared Crombies like Life on Mars’s Gene Hunt and, of course, the Quality Street Gang.
This industrial version of the Kray Twins and the Richardsons was embodied by the larger-than-life Bill Benny, a 20-stone wrestler who died in his office while having sex with a prostitute, leaving her to call the cops so that they could batter down the door and lift him off her.
Sometimes it all turns really nasty and Mr Plod himself is framed and put in the dock, and then the fun really starts – LSD in the bobby’s beer, Special Branch agents fingering prostitutes and a spate of nobbling in the highest offices of state.
Yet sometimes it all ends with pints of bitter all round amongst the leather bomber jackets, dodgy ’taches and cheap cuff links. Either way the law wins.
* This is not a walk solely about the Scuttlers. It’s more interesting than that. We use the full force of the law to unmask not just those who defy the law but those who hide behind it.