Phil was nearly dying of impatience by the time that Nick got back to the car. Nick opened the passenger door and Claude's mangy dog hopped out. Nick settled himself in the passenger seat having brushed off the dog hairs first.
"Well?" demanded Phil.
"Drive down the lane for a bit," Nick replied anxious in case Gilligan was wandering round anywhere.
Phil obediently drove on for about half a mile then pulled over and looked across at Nick.
"Gilligan is here to dig up money that was buried by Patterson. A robbery haul – stolen cash. Patterson told Gilligan where to find it just before he died, and to give most of the money to Patterson's missus, Gilligan keeping a cut. Only Gilligan couldn't work out on the map where the money was. He needed a bit of help – so he used Greengrass."
"Right. Was Gilligan ever going to give any money to the missus?"
"Doubt it. Patterson had no one else to ask – or trust – and fell back on Gilligan. He must have been desperate!" Nick opened the glovebox to see if there were any biscuits left.
"No point looking in there – Alfred's had them all. I don't think Claude feeds that dog." Phil looked puzzled at Nick. "How did you get all this out of Claude?"
"Threatened him with this warrant." Nick gave his piece of paper to Phil who opened it curiously knowing that whatever it was, it certainly wasn't a warrant.
"Memo to all Police Officers on Maintaining Uniform Standards," he read.
Nick shrugged. "Claude never asked to see it. He just assumed it was what I said it was."
"You're getting as bad as Blaketon."
"Funny," Nick said consideringly. "Greengrass said the same thing to me just before I left."
Ashfordly Woods was curiously busy the next evening. Lord Ashfordly's gamekeeper if he hadn't been laid up with a crocked back would have been quite interested in the goings on.
Around the area where the treasure haul lay buried lurking behind various trees were Sergeant Blaketon and the two young constables, Nick Rowan and Phil Bellamy.
They didn't have to wait long for Gilligan and Greengrass to join the party. Both carried shovels and Claude a torch as well.
"Ah reckon here's about right," Claude said, setting down the torch and looking over his shoulder.
"Why'd you keep doing that? Are you expecting someone Claude?"
"Aye - I am." Nick and Phil looked at each other in some alarm but then relaxed as Claude went on to say, "Ashfordly's gamekeeper that's who and if he catches us its game up. Now come on, get diggin'."
There was then a rather monotous twenty minutes of shovelling and cursing (this being done by Gilligan as he accused Greengrass of not pulling his weight)
"Eh, I've got a bad back you know," Claude muttered. "Look are you sure this money's here?"
"Yes unless you've read the map wrong," Gilligan snapped back.
Suddenly there was a "ding" sound as Claude's shovel hit something.
"That's it," Gilligan said breathlessly. He dropped his shovel and leaned down into the hole coming up with a large tin. He prised open the lid using his pen knife.
"Eh, would you look at that!" Claude wheezed as they stared at the money hidden in the tin.
"Thanks Gilligan." Nick Rowan emerged from the trees behind Gilligan who gasped and swung round. "You've saved us having to dig that up ourselves."
Gilligan clutched the tin to him. "Greengrass told you –"
"I knew you were in the village. It was only a matter of time before I found out the rest."
Gilligan looked around wildly for Claude but he had done the poacher's trick of slipping off into the darkness.
"I've done time for this money." Gilligan clutched it to him. "Its mine."
"That's not true Tommy. Come on, hand it over now."
Gilligan suddenly dropped the tin and picked up the shovel. "Fancy your chances do you Rowan?" he asked
"Yeah. Yeah I reckon I do." Nick looked round as Blaketon and Phil came out of the trees behind him. Nick looked back at Tommy who sighed and let the shovel drop.
"All right. Doesn't matter," he said, "There'll be a reward won't there? For whoever finds it? And returns it to the bank."
"There was a reward. Not any more. The bank withdrew it ," Blaketon said. "So it looks like you have gone to a lot of trouble for not very much sir."
Tommy's shoulders sagged as he watched Phil Bellamy step forward and reclaim the tin of money.
Nick and Oscar Blaketon waved Gilligan out of town on the early train the next morning the considered opinion being it was better all round to get him out of town as soon as possible and back to London.
"What do you think Rowan?" Blaketon said as the train left the station.
"I think he'll be back inside, in less than six months, Sarge."
"Aye." Blaketon turned on his heel. "As long as he's off our patch though Rowan. We've enough to contend with, with the likes of Claude Jeremiah Greengrass. And Rowan there is one other thing – "