Friday, 12 September 2014

Tommy "Tacker" Comerford

Opinion differs as to the influence that Tommy Comerford held in Liverpool.  Some cops saw him as the first real big time organised villain in Liverpool, whilst other cops and villains saw him as a loud mouth who talked himself into the big time.  What is indisputable, is that Comerford was a pioneering criminal in a couple of ways.  First off, he organised the Water Street bank job over the August Bank Holiday Weekend in 1969.  It was the first time thermal lances had been use to burn the way into a bank.  They removed £140,000, but Comerford was caught and convicted.  He was one of the first, if not the first, professional criminal to venture into the drug trade.  This led to more jail sentences.

    Comerford was born in the early 1930`s and soon fell into a criminal way.  By the early 60`s, he was thought of as a top villain in the city.  Well known Liverpool cop Albert Kirby was saved from a severe beating by three men, after Comerford heard a commotion near a club he had interests in.  He sent his bouncers out to get the men beating the young cop.  They fled, but Kirby ended up at an address, where Comerford`s boys were attempting to get in.  The men that attacked Kirby had left the city.  Comerford was a man who accepted the Police had a job to do, which involved putting the likes of him away, and never held anything personal.  Whilst accumulating wealth illegally, Comerford had two homes.  One was a very plush house, the other was a council flat.  On top of that, he was claiming benefits whilst travelling around the world on cruises!  Then came the Water Street job.  What brought him down was that a gold cigarette case stolen from a box, he handed to a lawyer friend, and it was noticed.  Comerford and a couple of his associates were charged with theft from a counting house.  He drew ten years.

    After he emerged from prison, he went into the drug business, as he realised that there would be much more money to be made and much safer than robbing banks or security vans.  Some believe he started dabbling in drugs in the late 60`s.  This could indicate that he knew where the future of organised crime lay and as drugs were in the hands of middle class hippies, how would they stand up to hardened villains?   He set up deliveries of drugs to be brought to the docks, but Police swooped on Comerford and his gang.  He went down for seven years.  Coming out of prison, he went straight back into drugs, importing cannabis, heroin, LSD and cocaine.  His tentacles stretched beyond the UK, and in the mid 80`s, he was under very close scrutiny by the Regional Crime Squad.  They arrested one of his drug runners and then they received word that he would be flying into Heathrow Airport with drugs and money.  He arrived on a flight from Germany and allowed to go through unchecked.  He and the people waiting to pick him up were then arrested.  He was carrying denominations of foreign currency, plus the big prize; heroin.  They stood trial at the Old Bailey, accused of importing £1,000,000 worth of heroin, conspiracy to import, plus Comerford faced attempted bribery.  He was acquitted of bribery but received 14 years for the other charges.

    Albert Kirby saw him as a major villain but others did not.  DI John Ralphson, who stuck a gun under the chin of Reg Kray, did not see him as such.  He saw Comerford as a big mouth who always talked himself into trouble, and that other villains saw through him but let him think he was "Top Cat".  Charlie Siega viewed him as an outsider always trying to worm his way in.  Whatever you think, the Water Street robbery and getting into drug importation long before other professional villains did, does set him apart.