Express & Star

'My husband put the Krays behind bars – this is how it happened'

"Ronnie and Reggie, get in the van."

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Alan Wright arrested the Kray twins in 1968

Those are the words that Alan Wright, the police officer who arrested the Kray twins, would find himself repeating for the remainder of his life, as people would inevitably ask him what he said to them.

"They didn't say anything back to him, but they wouldn't, would they?" says his widow Patricia, at her idyllic home in a tranquil backwater of Wolverhampton.

Alan would go on to enjoy a successful and varied career, rising to the rank of chief superintendent, briefing then home secretary David Blunkett, and advising the emerging democracies of Eastern Europe on policing in a free society. But it was always the Krays that people wanted to talk about.

So what were they like?

It is not unknown for police officers to form a bond, or at least a degree of mutual respect for the men they put away, but there was never any such charity displayed towards the Krays. Far from the romantic media portrayal in the 1960s, Patricia says Alan never had anything but disdain for the men who kept much of the East End under a reign of terror for many years.

Alan, who was a keen golfer, died from a heart attack, aged 81, at South Staffordshire Golf Club in Tettenhall last year. To mark the first anniversary of his passing, Patricia is sponsoring a prize in his memory at the club's Vardon Bowl competition on August 31.

A detective sergeant at New Scotland Yard, Alan was actually the longest-serving detective on the case, being assigned to a hush-hush inquiry on its launch in 1967, and remaining on the case until their conviction in 1969.

Working on the investigation was something of a cloak-and-dagger existence.

They weren't based in Scotland Yard, but at Tintagel House, a somewhat nondescript office block on the banks of the River Thames.

Patricia Wright holds a photograph of her late husband Alan, who arrested the Kray twins