Jack Crawford was born in 1947 and spent the first eleven years of his life living in a council flat in Stoke Newington, London. At that time it was not one of the capital’s more respectable areas, noted mainly for the gangs of criminals that proliferated after the Second World War. At the age of eleven his father’s job as a custom officer, saw the family move from the narrow backstreets to the open countryside of rural Northern Ireland. It was at this time he developed an appreciation of the countryside which stayed with him all his life.
Here he attended Foyle College in Londonderry. He was never the most enthusiastic of pupils and, after gaining a clutch of ‘O’ levels, he decided to leave. Four days after terminating his education and with twelve pounds in his pocket, he arrived back in England. He found employment performing such roles as a deckhand on a Dutch coaster, a milkman, a labourer, shop assistant and a trainee company manager.
In 1966 he joined British Customs and Excise as a uniformed officer. His duties included driving patrol cars along the border between Northern and Southern Ireland and working at various ports and airports. At airports he checked passengers’ luggage and monitored aircrew. At ports his main role was searching all areas of ships that had arrived from abroad to look for contraband.
He then graduated to become a specialist investigation officer where he was part of a team that investigated major drugs gangs, smuggling of commercial goods and sensitive military equipment and large scale tax frauds. Intelligence was relied on to identify criminal gangs who were then targeted and evidence was gathered by means of covert mobile and static surveillance. He arrested and interviewed, under caution, many suspects who were then brought before the courts.
As time moved on, he felt that there was more to life than chasing bad guys. In 1990 he began studying for a law degree at the University of Central England in Birmingham and in July 1994, he obtained an LL.B (Hons), (2.1). He resigned from Customs and Excise and, for a year, worked for one of the major firms of accountants as its customs investigation manager. This saw him representing companies being investigated for alleged tax fraud by his former colleagues. After a year in accountancy he joined the legal team of one of the world’s leading tobacco companies.
Here much of his work involved the application of EU legislation so as to enable more tax and business efficient processes. He undertook various “fire -fighting” matters which usually involved paperwork at border crossings. He also lectured to those customs authorities that were about to join the EU. He assisted various customs and finance authorities in identifying counterfeit product and the areas from where it was sourced. His work involved constant travel, mainly to the EU and Central and Eastern Europe. After ten years of airport lounges, he took early retirement. At the time of his retirement he was a senior executive with his own office which overlooked the Thames. Stoke Newington was only three miles away. Not far in geographical terms but a considerable distance in the stepping stones of life. Now he enjoys relaxed holidays with his wife Joan and spends time at his cottage in a small Cornish fishing village. Here, owing to his boat handling skills, he was granted the affectionate sobriquet of “Captain Cock Up.”
Throughout his life he had always considered writing and his thoughts increasingly turned to the idea of producing some form of literature. Now with the luxury of time, he put pen to paper and wrote Daniel’s Prize, his first book.
Jack has been very happily married to Joan since 1969 and has a son, daughter in law and two granddaughters.