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Show in Thanet to go on despite “threats from gangsters”

11:20 12 October 2011

Gangsters of Thanet

Gangsters of Thanet

Archant

Writer claims “scary” calls told him to back away from subject matter

Writer of a “screwball comedy” about gangsters in Thanet has insisted the show will go ahead despite receiving some “very scary” death threats and warnings.

Gangsters in Thanet is due to open in Broadstairs on October 19, exploring the history of hardcore criminals in the area.

But write Norman Thomas claims he has received a number of calls from people warning him off the subject matter.

He says: “A number of people have warned me that I don’t know what I’m getting myself into and one man from Margate said if I’d end up in a concrete kimono in Ramsgate harbour.

“But we will go ahead. The whole point of the play is to break the silence on this subject in the area - we can’t back down now.

“I’ve been amazed by the weird and wonderful calls we’ve received since word got out about the play, and some of them have been very scary. Some people really don’t want us to touch this subject.”

Mr Thomas says he has been researching the subject for the last 12 years.

He adds: “Gangsters have played a major part in the area’s past - and are continuing to exert a big influence today

“It’s actually quite horrifying the extent to which people around here go in fear of a small number of powerful individuals.

“And it’s not just petty crime and drugs. People with gangster links have huge influence on the island.”

Mr Thomas aims to follow up the play with a film about the history of gangsters in Thanet, going back to the smugglers of the 18th century.

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