|What Really Happened|
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In 1967 I was working for Social Club Services Ltd. - a company owned by my brother Vince Landa. Social Club Services was the biggest supplier in the Northeast of entertainment services to working mens clubs at the time. Our services included booking cabaret acts, providing decorative fittings and supplying clubs in Durham county and throughout the Northeast with fruit machines. With a turnover of millions of pounds a year, SCS was doing well so we made the decision to go public and float shares on the stock market, with shares estimated to be worth £4M - half the worth of Vince's £8M empire.
In August 1966 when the Kray Twins visited Newcastle and were shown around by Paddy Hallett,(an ex prize-fighter), they saw the expansion of the gaming business and wanted to muscle in. Paddy was well known to the Krays, being a former employee of theirs as an enforcer and collector of protection money. Having heard that the Krays were going to visit Newcastle, Vince warned Superintendent Jack Vinton of Newcastle Police and other club owners of their intended visit, stressing the consequences for the whole industry in the Northeast if the Krays succeeded in moving in on the Newcastle scene. Vince knew too well what that was like, having himself left London back in 1960 because of threats from protection rackets of violence against his businesses and other legitimate businesses in the area.
During their brief visit, Paddy Hallett took the Krays to visit other businesses, bars and clubs but their attempts to move in on our already established business failed and they returned to London empty-handed. A month later the "Piccadilly Club" was burnt to the ground followed by the torching of one other club and garage in the area. Arson was suspected as 2 men were seen running away from the scene. However this was never pursued by the police.
In December 1966, I spent the Xmas holidays in Majorca with my fiancée and my family (Vince, his wife, children and my parents). Stafford also spent the holidays in Majorca that year, as we owned a hotel there and it was common for employees to stay there while on holiday. I originally planned to stay on longer to try and promote our services in Majorca while the rest of the group returned to England on January 3rd, but plans changed when Vince's son got sick and had to go to the hospital. Vince wanted to remain back for awhile longer to be with his son so I agreed to return early in his place and deputize for him during his absence. Because Vince had a previously scheduled meeting with the company accountant in London, he flew back with us to make this appointment, after which he was to return straight back to Majorca. We said our goodbyes at the airport in London and I promised to call Vince the next day with an update on the company accounts. On January 4th I returned to work and my first order of business was to check over the company accounts and meet with Angus Sibbett – the Company Collector – to discuss some important deals he had been working on during the holidays - one especially which was quite lucrative - a contract worth £8000K - (involving the provision of closed-circuit television, a disco and complete refurbishing of the Newcastle Transport Club). Angus came to the offices of SCS later that morning and we met.