My week: Guy Wooford

Monday

Get a tip off that a Notts Special Constable has quit her job amid a police probe into how £8,000 has allegedly gone ‘missing’from a top non-league football club.

Detectives were brought in after the cash shortfall was exposed in an internal audit of the club’s accounts. This is the third exclusive we have run on this. The first one confirmed the police probe and the second saw us naming the special constable when police confirmed her suspension.

Door knocked her with a little bit of help from her neighbours – everyone needs good ones – who advised me on which among a pretty row of country cottages was hers. Posted her a note asking her to call me… still waiting for the phone to ring.

Tuesday

A detective secretly taped calling criminals ‘Jamaican pond-life’during the investigation into a notorious Nottingham crime boss has written a savage attack on the force over his treatment.

The DC was hauled before force professional standards chiefs in June 2005 within hours of being told how a CID colleague had been arrested on suspicion of supplying information to the crime boss via his criminal associates. He was desk-bound for a year before retiring last year after undergoing no formal disciplinary hearing.

Now, he has penned a powerful 1,200-word piece giving an unprecedented personal insight into the most turbulent period of the force’s history. Take him for a pint before publication to reassure him and persuade him to pose for pictures. Cracking story. 

Wednesday

Notts Police Authority full meeting. Some can be guarded with little in the way of great exclusive stories… Not this one.

A presentation on how a ruthless gang of hardcore Eastern European criminals with hundreds of associates are targeting Notts businesses off the M1 as part of a UK wide theft and fraud scam. Mugshots of suspects, maps of their hits, no other media there. Great stuff.

Thursday

Bit knackered now already… and it’s only Thursday morning.

Nottingham may no longer be ‘Assassination City’– given falling gun crime in the city and the recent events in Liverpool – but covering crime in this manor would, I suspect, still push any crime hack in London towards the bottle.

Got a tip off from reliable police source that a hero police officer, who narrowly avoided death after being shot while investigating a suspected burglary 18 months ago, has been off work sick for six months and is receiving counselling. This is after having lasted less than a month in her new role with a force domestic violence support unit. Great story – but has to be handled with TLC.

Phoned up police press office – was told that they ‘do not comment on sickness records of employees”.

Visit the officer’s family home in the north of the county. Her dad confirms to me that she is off sick but says that she is planning to return to work.

Back at the office, a senior officer phones me saying I’ve been ‘naughty’for going around to the officer’s family home. I reply that it’s a legitimate story, which illustrates the trauma this officer has gone through. He’s old school and not impressed – he never is.

We speak to Notts Police Federation, which talks about the support that the officer has received and say that, in hindsight, she came back to work too soon.

Then at 4pm, another tip-off leads to a flurry of frantic phone calls. Apparently, the wife of the new chairman of Notts County Football Club has just been the victim of a car-jacking. The police say she had been posting letters in a post box when a thief pushed past her, jumped into her new sports car and drove off.

Dash over to the sports desk to get the chairman’s mobile number. After greeting me with a four-letter word, he describes how he is ‘devastated’for his wife. Nailed on splash for tomorrow and ending a testing day on a high. Now, whose round is it…? 

Friday

Supposed to start at 11am but come in at 9.30am as I face a busy day and want to find out what is happening about the sick officer.

A senior police source calls to say that a provisional date has been agreed for her return to work and our story might cause her to leave the force altogether.

I disagree. The story is sympathetic to her and will generate a lot of support and interest from our readers, plus wider national interest on the psychological pressure our brave bobbies face.

Discussion with editor and news editor ends with a decision to splash on the story the following week.

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