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Ilford’s London Electricity Board robbery features in new crime book by Kent author

08:20 20 May 2014

George Davis leaves the High Court on the first day of his appeal. Photo credit: Ian Nicholson

George Davis leaves the High Court on the first day of his appeal. Photo credit: Ian Nicholson

PA Wire/Press Association Images

The incredible story of George Davis and the notorious 1974 armed robbery of Ilford’s London Electricity Board has been relived in a new crime book.

Mike GrayMike Gray

Part-time author Mike Gray, 56, of Rainham, Kent, vividly remembers the 1975 Ashes Test match being abandoned after Davis’ supporters dug up the pitch at Headingley cricket ground in Leeds.

After writing four previous crime books, the estate agent - a friend of Ronnie Biggs for more than 30 years - decided to chronicle the exploits of the most memorable crimes this nation has ever seen, including those of “The Wembley Mob”, led by Bertie Smalls, who robbed Barclays Bank in High Road, Ilford in 1970. The book is called 101 Interesting Facts on Britain’s True Life Crimes.

“With this book I just wanted to remember the crimes going on when I was growing up,” said cricket fan Mr Gray.

“With Davis I remember the pitch being dug up because of the George Davis campaign.

“Most of the facts I have had in my head over the years,” he added.

Each of Mr Gray’s books took him just a week to write, thanks to his knowledge of the crime.

Davis’ campaign became part of criminal folklore after he was jailed over a raid in April 1974 at the London Electricity Board.

In 2011, after a campaign lasting decades to try quash his conviction, Davis won an appeal at the Court of Appeal.

His case attracted attention from all levels of society and punk band Sham 69 even wrote a song about him.

However, he was arrested again in 1977 and pleaded guilty to involvement in an armed robbery at the Bank of Cyprus in London. He was sentenced to 15 years, reduced to 11 years on appeal.

“The Bank of Cyprus robbery made his wife, who had been campaigning too, and his loyal supporters look a bit stupid,” added Mr Gray.

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