During the fifties and sixties the twins, Reggie and Ronnie, ruled East London and their story is as publicised as they come.
Fast forward three decades and a young Steve Wraith, doing his GCSE’s at school aged 16, picks up a copy of John Pearson’s A Profession of Violence, and lives change.
Wraith became a close friend and confidante to the twins during their final years of imprisonment but the one thing which goes unmentioned is the impact of the twins’ elder sibling, Charlie Kray and his involvement in the ‘family business.’
On July 15th, writer Steve Wraith brings to light the tale of ‘Operation Acid,’ and the investigation by Northumbria and the Metropolitan Police into Charlie and the cocaine ‘sting’ which he fell for in 1996 affording a surprise ending to the Kray story.
Over the past fifteen years, Steve has released several books regarding the phenomenon, his first, the Krays: the Geordie Connection, was released in 2002 and updated as The Krays: Behind Bars, two years ago as well as, in 2013, The Krays: From the Cradle to the Grave. There was also a Freddie Foreman Photo Album added for good measure.
In ‘Operation Acid’ though Wraith brings Charlie Kray to the forefront. It is something that has been sat on for over two decades but for Steve, the relationship with the elder Kray was different to that with the twins, after all, Charlie was a free man.
Speaking to Steve about his impending release of ‘Operation Acid’ he said: “My relationship and subsequent friendship with Charlie was different, unique to that of the twins as he was a free man.
“This book will be the story of Charlie and the latter part of his life but, like other Kray books, the stage has to be set with the story of the twins and of how I got to know them.
“The main focus though will see unpublished transcripts and photographs relating to the undercover operation (which pinned the final Kray) and provides an interesting insight into how the police worked back then.”
The question has always remained when talking about Charlie Kray as to whether he was a victim of his surname or if he was a villain and mastermind behind operations like this – the book is the first time the public will be able to form their own opinion.
In Steve, and others like him, the name continues in a better light than it did in their heyday and, in 2005, that ‘Geordie Connection’ was strengthened when Terry Moran was badly burnt in a bonfire that year, one of several high profile events attended by them. The Newcastle Chronicle headline read ‘Krays Plan Bash With A Difference.’
Nearly £3,000 was raised that night alone and showed the heart and love that was there. This with unseen material, newspaper clippings, personal letters and the original transcripts affords much interest.
“It’s something I always intended on doing,” Steve added.
“It seems the right time to do it with it being the anniversary, and there being very little about Charlie on the market.
“The foreword has been kindly provided by John Corbett which came when Neil (Jackson) and I took a road-trip to Berkshire for he is the one person that should have been involved.”