Rhys-Morgan looked thoughtfully out through the second-floor window of the flats above the Cancer Research UK charity shop over the road from Peter’s Pet Shop. There was one benefit to a global recession, at least - it was much easier to find an empty property within sight of the pet shop.
He looked across at D.S. Jenkins. “Just like the old days, eh, Tommie?”
Tommie nodded and stifled a yawn. “Yep. Just as boring as I remember it, Guv! Any movement yet?”
Rhys-Morgan shook his head. “Nothing yet. Did you bring the kit?”
Tommie nodded again. “It’s not been so long that I’d forget the kit, Guv. Do you want me to set up now?”
“I think so,” Ifan replied. “I suspect it will be a few hours before we get any action, so best to be prepared.”
“It’s in the boot,” Tommie told him. “I’ll be back in a jiffy.”
Rhys-Morgan turned back out the window and listened to his sergeant clomp down the stairs to the small car park round the back before turning his attention to the pet shop across the street. It was very quiet. Bobby and Roger had returned earlier in the day and reported no signs of life at all. There was no notice of a holiday closure, just the usual CLOSED sign hanging in the window all day.
Of course, if Peter Lloyd had any sense then he would be long gone by now. Fortunately, however, it was D.I. Rhys-Morgan’s experience that the average criminal did not have an awful lot of sense, especially when it came to something like a multiple murder. Usually, part of them wanted to be caught.
On the other hand, what if Sir Henry had been right? If this was the action of the Animal Liberation Front, where would that leave Peter Lloyd? Unless...?
The sound of Tommie plodding back up the stairs interrupted his train of thought.
“Tommie?” he asked as the sergeant returned. “What do you think are the chances that Peter Lloyd is part of the Animal Liberation Front?”
Tommie paused in the doorway. “Not sure, Guv. Isn’t owning a pet like animal slavery or something to these guys? He’d be more likely to be a target than a groupie, I would have thought.”
“That’s a good point, Tommie,” agreed Rhys-Morgan, turing back to the window. “If this was the work of the ALF, they might make a move on the pet shop themselves. Liberate any animals left, that kind of thing. You remember the Dynamo Joe’s case.”
The sergeant grunted noncommittally and entered the room carrying a squat brushed metal briefcase, which he carried over and placed on the small table behind Rhys-Morgan.
“Are you having doubts that Peter’s our man, Guv?” he asked, flicking the two latches open with his thumbs.
“I don’t know what to think any more, Tommie,” sighed Rhys-Morgan. “This case has got more twists and turns than a sackful of snakes. Either way, my gut tells me that Peter’s pet shop is the key somehow. Hopefully, tonight will tell us how. If not... I guess we should call the RSPCA in the morning and sort out a warrant for a raid.”
Tommie grunted and opened the lid of the case. Nestled into special cut-foam housing was his stakeout equipment. He traced a finger loving over the exterior of the largest piece. This was his favourite bit of hidden surveillance operations.
With a dextrous flourish that was slightly incongruent with a man of his build, he pulled out two large ceramic mugs, spun them round his middle fingers and set them out on the table. This was swiftly followed by an electric kettle. A hidden compartment in the lid of the case, quietly swung open to reveal an array of tea bags.
“So, what’ll it be, Guv?” Tommie asked. “English breakfast, Assam or Darjeeling?”