Rick Lyon

08.01.04

Facing a busy full weekend as duty reporter. I get wind of an upcoming huge drugs crackdown in Hull and have to start pieceing together all the background material that is required.

As the operation is top secret, one of the major difficulties is carrying out such a large amount of work without alerting people to the police force’s intentions.

The second problem is that my day off, scheduled for tomorrow, would have to be spent working on the stories required for the days ahead.

As the raids are planned for Monday and Tuesday it is apparent my next day off – Tuesday – is also going to have to be cancelled.

Unsurprisingly, none of my colleagues fancy taking on my full weekend stint so I am looking at working for at least 10 days without a break.

Great.

09.01.04

Instead of the joys of a trip to Little Monkeys and the swimming baths, I leave my slightly disgruntled wife to deal with our beautiful baby daughter on her own and trudge in to work less than enthusiastically.

Before I get a chance to sit down, I am called in to the editor’s office to discuss an investigation the chief reporter and I have been working on.

For the past two weeks, we have been looking into how Humberside Police’s records on Soham killer, Ian Huntley, could have been erased after such a short period of time.

The initial run date of Monday is going to have to be changed while a last-minute problem is clarified, sending panic waves through the office as the five-page investigation has to be replaced.

All hands hit the decks in an attempt to pull some hard-hitting stories out of the bag. Although I am not called on to contribute to the five pages, the chaos means I do not get as much of the drugs backgrounders completed as I would have liked.

Great.

Hull Daily Mail: drug bust splash

10.01.04

With all the drugs interviews in my book, I am really hoping to bash on through loads of the backgrounder and put myself in a good position for Monday, when I am due to join the drugs swoops at 6.30am.

Things, of course, do not go quite to plan and find myself bogged down with wading through the usual Saturday shift tedium of coming up with lively downpage copy and national newspaper checks.

Send an e-mail round to half the office to invite them to drinks at my house tonight, to celebrate my birthday tomorrow.

Nobody replies, although I feel sure at least one person will turn up out of sympathy. My wife is stressed about how many are going to turn up and I am too knackered to be bothered to entertain.

Great.

11.01.04

Spend my birthday in the office on my own, snowed under with work and slightly hungover despite my best intentions.

Great.

12.01.04

Up at 5.30am to get to drugs briefing and by 8am a photographer and I are dashing after two vans full of police in full riot gear, who descend on a house and start smashing the door in. The householder is none too pleased.

He attempts to take out his frustration on our photographer, but is thankfully held back by two burly boys in blue.

It’s all a bit hairy, but makes for good pictures.

By the end of the first day of the operation, some 25 suspected drug dealers are behind bars and I have produced seven pages of copy for the following day’s newspaper.

Eventually leave the office at 7.30pm, looking forward to another 5.30am start tomorrow.

Great.

13.01.04

Wake up at 5.30am, having managed about three hours sleep as my teething one-year-old decided to share her pain for most of the night.

Feeling good.

More baddies have their collars felt under my watchful gaze. The photographer gets it again when a shavenheaded gentleman decides to display his displeasure with a full gob of spit.

I, once again, take notes from a safe distance, but am obviously more than sympathetic once I have finished laughing.

Fortunately, I don’t have as many pages to fill for tomorrow’s newspaper as the Soham investigation is running, and so manage to get away by 6pm.

On the way out my news editor advises I start my days off on Thursday rather than Friday, as planned.

Apparently, I look like shit.

Great.

14.01.04

The end is in sight and I am looking forward to coasting through the day, looking busy, but not actually doing very much at all. Drink lots of coffee and spend some time doing some very, very important internet research.

Manage to get to 2pm when a story comes in that the police have arrested a nurse over the death of an elderly patient. The deaths of other patients in her care are also being looked into.

A nice easy end to a nice easy week.

Get home at 7pm to find my wife has bought in more than a few bottles of wine and cooked up a huge roast dinner. My baby girl comes tottering up to meet me as I fall in the door.

Now, that is great.

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