Glamorous days of Calpe Rock Shop owner

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Ronnie Knight (left) Tony Slater and comedian/impressionist Paul Melba in Calpe. Photo: Courtesy Tony Slater.
Ronnie Knight (left) Tony Slater and comedian/impressionist Paul Melba in Calpe. Photo: Courtesy Tony Slater.

Two decades after selling his Calpe Rock Shop, Tony Slater smiles, as he recalls the days when gangster Ronnie Knight, ex-husband of Barbara Windsor, jailed for seven years for his part in the Security Express £6m bullion robbery in 1983, paid him a visit.

Tony, who befriended comedian/impressionist Paul Melba during his time in Spain, said: “Paul arranged for Ronnie Knight to pop into the shop, and from Calpe we then went to his casa.

“It was at the height of him being splashed all over the media – linked with the £6m bullion robbery,” reflected Tony.

“The British government were trying to get him extradited,” added Tony, who returns to Calpe, near Benidorm, regularly for holidays.

“After arriving at Paul’s casa we went out for dinner,” said Tony, who sold the Calpe Rock Shop in 1998.

Fellow Prestonian Tony said East End gangster Ronnie Knight re-visited his shop in Calpe – to buy some imported Blackpool rock!

Ronnie Knight and Barbara Windsor.

“Ronnie re-visited the shop and asked for a bag of Blackpool rock for himself, and for Freddie Foreman, who was living in Marbella,” said Tony.

Freddie Foreman served nine years for his part in the £6m bullion robbery.

On his time selling Blackpool rock, entertainer and Charity events organiser Tony said: “The Spanish couldn’t get their head around Blackpool rock – with the name Calpe running all the way through it!

“They were amazed, everytime they bit a chunk or snapped a piece off, the name Calpe was there.

“The only downside of selling rock in Spain was the hot climate – it melted in the heat!,” Tony laughed.

“They were glamorous times,” added Tony.

*Next week Andrew Atkinson continues his exclusive interview with Tony Slater.

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