Days later, on May 21, the same man was forced to flee for his life through the streets of Phibsboro, chased by an armed gunman It is now understood that the hard-up gangsters decided they wanted to make an example of their former associate and set one of their key north Dublin hitmen on him.
There was just a trace of an icy smile on his round boxer's face as Warren - always known to his friends as Cocky, The Cocky Watchman or just The Cock - acknowledged a small party of police and Customs men whohad turned up to watch him disembarkto let him know that his return was notgoing unnoticed. He then climbed into a waiting silver Lexus to take the seven-hour drive back to his native Liverpool.
By 3am the following morning, Warren, a man Interpol once called Target One and whose bleak, eagle-eyed stare had chilled the blood of hundreds of lesser criminals in this country over two decades, was comfortably ensconced in a city centre hotel on the banks of the Mersey, ready to begin the rest of his life as a free man.
But this wasn't Daniel Craig in Layer Cake, Ben Kingsley in Sexy Beast or even Vinnie Jones in Lock Stock - this was a real villain.
Curtis Warren, one of Britain's richest gangsters - a former drug baron with an illegal fortune estimated to exceed £100 million - was returning to Britain after almost 11 years in a Dutch jail - and he could be out to reclaim his empire.
The motorist rang 999 and reported that a man with a blue top was being chased by a hitman holding a handgun.
Miraculously, the man ran down Dalymount Lane to hide in the grounds of Bohemians Football Club and remained undercover until members of the Garda’s Emergency Response Unit arrived.He has refused to give a statement, but Gardaí had previously raided his home after seeing Thompson, Roe and even Daniel Kinahan using it as a safe house following the Regency Hotel attack.Sources say that the man – who had an address in the south inner city – was storing bullets and drugs for the gang, which were seized during a raid on the property as part of the massive clampdown on cartel chiefs.Perhaps inevitably, given the best gangster traditions, Warren spent the following morning visiting his elderly mother, Sylvia, who hasn't been in the best of health since his father died at the age of 65, in 2000.But however well he plays the part, there is nothing in the least glamorous about Curtis Francis Warren, who has just completed two-thirds of his 16-year sentence fordrugtrafficking and the killing of a Turkish fellow inmate in the Hoorn prison in Holland. This is a determined, ruthless career criminal who has been called 'the richest and most successful British criminal who has ever been caught'.Just after 8pm last Thursday, a stocky, shaven-headed 44-year-old man wearing a tracksuit swaggered down the gangplank from the Hook of Holland ferry just as the rain stopped falling on the worn, stone flagstones of Harwich docks in East Anglia.