The plot is set on a group of bank robbers, who are both violent and successful, strangely getting away each time with an amount around the £60,000 mark, and often leaving behind cash in excess of this sum. The robbers are willing to kill their own team, to get away. As Jack Regan himself puts it after the first raid in the film: \"I've never seen so many dead people\". Armed with gold-plated Purdey shotguns, they evaded Regan and the Flying Squad for quite some time, before Regan finds encouragement from his Detective Chief Superintendent who was sent down for corruption because Jack wouldn't testify in court for him.\
In the late 1970s, Cockney crime boss Harold Shand, a gangster trying to become a legitimate property mogul, has big plans to get the American Mafia to bankroll his transformation of a derelict area of London into the possible venue for a future Olympic Games. However, a series of bombings targets his empire on the very weekend the Americans are in town. Shand is convinced there is a traitor in his organization, and sets out to eliminate the rat in typically ruthless fashion.