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EXCLUSIVE: Former detectives pay 'tribute' to gangster Billy Blundell who 'always knew t

FORMER detectives involved in investigating the criminal empire of East End legend Billy Blundell have paid "tribute" to how the gangster always knew when he was about to be raided.

Ex members of the South East Regional Crime Squad discussed Blundell's apparent ability to evade capture in the wake of his death aged 77 which was announced on Facebook last week.

Billy (pictured above) once shot three members of a rival gang in broad daylight on Ilford High Street in east London.

He was charged with attempted murder, but a jury cleared him, saying he acted in self defence.

Blundell built up an ice cream van empire from the East End in the 1960s serving tourist traps in London and saw off any other sellers with violence or threats.

He moved into other activities including property rental, security and car clamping more recently.

While hundreds of people have visited the post on Facebook announcing his death and paid their personal tributes to the old school gangster, former detectives have discussed their investigations into him on Linkedin.

There appeared to be a consensus that Blundell had corrupt police contacts who tipped him off about raids about to take place.

Former Met Police DCI Dave McKelvey wrote: "Blundell was a Regional Crime Squad target for many years in the nineties.

"He had a habit of making tea and offering breakfast whenever we turned up with a search warrant. He always knew we were coming. Makes you wonder how.

"On the last raid we did he even had bacon sandwiches ready.

"Tipped off by a corrupt Essex officer. Without the services of corrupt police officers major criminals such as Blundell would have been arrested and convicted years ago.

"Incredibly the police and National Crime Agency seem oblivious to what is going on."

John Lett, a former regional intelligence officer for the National Crime Squad, added: "His name was known by every regional crime squad officer. Good friend of an Essex Det/Supt! RIP Billy,"

Frank Matthews is the online pseudonym of a former Met Police detective sergeant.

He wrote: "None of these people would survive without their ‘Fortune Tellers.’

"Some saw it as the trade off, I saw it for what it was, corruption and lazy policing."

Mick Jones, a former DCI with Essex Police, said he had monitored Blundell over 20 years, but there were no significant prosecutions of the gangster over that time.

He wrote: "Spent more time watching him and his family/associates over 20 years than my own family growing up.

"Even when he was in Spain, Gibraltar and Morocco setting up numerous importations, I was there with him. Not that he knew it!"

Blundell's son, Billy Blundell Junior, announced on Facebook the self-confessed criminal's passing on Thursday, August 27.

He wrote: "Sadly Facebook is the best way to notify friends that today my Dad – the legend that is Billy Blundell has passed away.”

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