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Between the two World Wars, there was a dramatic upsurge of violence as rival criminal gangs vied for rich pickings from bookmakers at racetracks throughout England.
With ready access to cash, ‘bookies’ were a magnet for mobsters’ blackmailing demands. Refusal to pay resulted in severe punishment. Their justified fears spawned a ready ‘protection’ market .
Conflict between rival gangs were frequent and increasingly violent. Charles ‘Darby’ Sabini with his brothers ran ‘The Italian Mob’ who clashed with Billy Kimber and his Brummagen Hammers.
Uneasy partnerships were formed but seldom lasted. The Sabinis were friendly with the Cortesi family until a rift resulted in one of the Cortesis shooting Harryboy Sabini. Other gangs such as The Titanics and The Nile Mob were ready to fill voids. As well as broken alliances, internal friction and members changing sides resulted in bloodshed on the streets, in pubs and clubs and on the courses. Public order was so threatened that the Flying Squad was tasked with the eradication of the problem and, in 1936, the celebrated Battle of Lewes Racecourse brought matters to a bloody conclusion.
This well researched and gripping account describes the vicious dramas played out in the 1920s and 1930s.