smiled. Several large triangles of glass hit the concrete and appeared on the video screen in the van. Geoff asked Mike to stop for a moment so that they could assess the situation. The top camera panned over the entire window. It was like a starburst from the point of impact; large triangular shapes of glass separating from each other, getting bigger as the crack moved toward the edges of the pane. But the window was double-glazed; there were two panes of glass. Only one had broken. Geoff groaned. ‘You little fucker… Let’s have another go,’ said Mike as he pulled the joystick back toward him and pushed it away again. Jake braced himself once again for the noise and force of a potential blast. The lance’s spike went cleanly through the second sheet of glass and into the flat. ‘Gotcha,’ said Mike, as he reversed the robot backwards. Jake’s sigh of relief was audible. ‘No explosions, good. Maybe your man was being straight? Let’s have a look inside then,’ said Geoff, as he began using the other joystick to move the mechanical arm on the robot. The arm moved up and toward the hole in the glass before pushing through and widening the aperture. There was a slight tangle with the net curtains, which had somehow been secured very firmly and snugly to the window frame, then suddenly Jake could see inside the flat – the screen on the wall of the van showing him in full colour the state of the living room. ‘Jesus!’ Jake exclaimed.
18 Tuesday 12 July 2005 1007 hours Victoria Park, Leeds, West Yorkshire The walls were regulation magnolia. A red patterned sofa sat on what appeared to be a blue and red carpet. Jake couldn’t really tell – mainly because the floor looked like a rubbish dump. There were bin bags full of stuff, boxes for mobile phones, rucksacks, plates with some odd-looking brown substance on them. Things were just strewn everywhere. It was a gigantic mess. A kitchen area off to the right of the living room looked just as bad. Jake was gobsmacked. This was an absolute treasure trove of evidence just waiting for them. ‘Wow. That’s going to take some work, Jake. We’ll have to take it slow – take it out piece by piece, item by item; each thing is a potential explosive risk.’ Jake felt both elated and disappointed. He needed to know exactly what this place was. Lenny appeared at the back of the van. ‘Guv, found a witness as we were evacuating, says there was a group of men who rented number twenty-two – Asian guys, in and out all the time – says they were a pain in the arse with their hours. She saw them at about three thirty or four a.m. on the morning of the seventh. Reckons they were loading rucksacks into a small blue car. I think we’ve got the right place.’ ‘Good work, Lenny. Get a written statement off of her, will you?’ Lenny smiled, nodded and walked away from the van. ‘Geoff, how long before we can get an investigation team inside that flat?’ Jake asked. ‘I don’t know. We’ll need to check it’s safe. Then we’ll need the police photographer here to document everything. Then that ton of stuff in there will need to be removed and processed… I tell you what, rather them than me in that small place with a load of explosives equipment! I wouldn’t fancy storing and assembling all the different bomb parts side by side. What if it all went up in one go? What sort of idiot assembles all three parts of a bomb in one tiny flat?’ Geoff shook his head in disbelief and went off muttering to himself about the danger of explosives. Jake needed a coffee, maybe even something a bit stronger. There was a lot to take in. He was shocked by how much stuff was in there. Almost too much. He brought back three paper cups of double espresso from a small café around the corner. He’d also treated Geoff, Mike and himself to a bacon roll each. Jake was starving. It had been a long day already. Up at 0400 hours, briefing the search teams at 0445