Big Podeen had been a sailor for twenty years, with the scars and nicks of a thousand ports on his body. Now he did some bouncing for pubs on Lothian road and dubious drinking-dens around Leith. Podeen's fingers were so encrusted with dirt that he might have carved out the black economy single-handedly from the rotten, fertile soil beneath him.
Podeen is fed information about small-time drug dealers by the heroine barons, and he passes it onto Jim Stevens and other reporters in order to nudge the smaller dealers out of the area with the press. In Knots & Crosses, Podeen meets with Stevens in a bar in Leith and tells him that there's just a little cannabis around Leith, and that a bar has opened by the Mackay Showroom that solicites prostitution.