In Depth

How the real Hatton Garden robbery played out

New ITV drama depicts elderly criminals as they carry out ‘largest burglary in English legal history’


Five of the men involved in the biggest burglary in British history have been jailed for a combined 34 years.

John Collins, 75, Carl Wood, 59, Daniel Jones, 61, Terry Perkins, 67, and William Lincoln, 60, pleaded guilty to stealing jewels worth around £14m from safety deposit boxes in Hatton Garden last year.

"The burglary at the heart of this case stands in a class of its own," Judge Christopher Kinch said.

Four of the men received seven-year sentences, while Wood was given six. One other man, Hugh Doyle, 48, was given a suspended sentence of 21 months.

Ringleader Brian Reader was not in court after suffering a second stroke in prison. He will be sentenced at a later date, the BBC reports.

"The individuals responsible clearly thought they would get away with it," the Metropolitan Police said. "However, thanks to the meticulous investigation undertaken by the police, they haven't."

Officers are still hunting a red-haired man known only as "Basil" who was caught on CCTV with a set of keys that the police say allowed the others to enter the building.

"The gang members have claimed Basil was the real architect behind the burglary, but have refused to identify him," says the Daily Telegraph.

Though some of the jewels have since been recovered, millions of pounds worth of diamonds and gold and platinum bars remain missing.

Hatton Garden: missing suspect 'Basil' a 'former police officer'

09 February

The missing suspect in the Hatton Garden heist is a former police officer, according to one of the men awaiting sentencing for the crime.

Known only as "Basil", the mystery man is thought to be the brains behind the raid in London's jewellery quarter, which resulted in £14m worth of goods being stolen, of which £9m is still missing.

In a letter sent from prison, Daniel Jones, 58, who pleaded guilty to his involvement in the heist, told Sky News more details about his missing accomplice.

"I can say that someone told me he was an ex-policeman who got into security by the guy who introduced him to me," he wrote.

"He said Basil heard about me from a close friend on the police force as I was arrested for a similar raid in Bond Street in 2010.

"Basil was the brains, as I was recruited by him. He let me in on the night of the burglary, he hid keys and codes throughout the building."

Despite offering the tantalising clues, Jones insisted he had no idea where Basil could be hiding. "I saw Basil about four times throughout, he came and went. I don't know nothing about him, where he lives. I wasn't interested," he said.

However, even if he did know his whereabouts, Jones admitted he would not reveal it as "it's not a done thing where I come from".

"Basil" was caught on camera sporting a wig of red hair, but was not seen again following the burglary, reports the Daily Telegraph.

"Careful to obscure his face from CCTV, the lanky red head was able to let himself into the Hatton Garden building with a key and bypass several layers of security, leading to speculation that he had some connection with the company," the newspaper says.

The Telegraph suggests the missing man might have left the country as he was "nowhere to be seen" in the weeks following the burglary, when other gang members met regularly to discuss how they would share out the proceeds.

Jones, a career criminal, is one of nine men who have been convicted or admitted to their part in the raid, the biggest burglary in English history. They will be sentenced on 7 March.

Hatton Garden: three men convicted – but where is 'Basil'?

9 February

Three men have been convicted of taking part in the Hatton Garden jewellery heist in London, said to be the biggest ever burglary in English history.

Jewellery and valuables worth around £14m were taken in the raid last Easter.

Carl Wood, 58, and William Lincoln, 60, were both found guilty at Woolwich Crown Court today of conspiracy to commit burglary and conspiracy to conceal, convert or transfer criminal property. Hugh Doyle, 48, was convicted of concealing, converting or transferring criminal property.

A fourth man, Jon Harbinson, 42, was cleared.

Sentencing on at least two of them will take place on 7 March.

Four others – Brian Reader, 76, Terry Perkins, 67, John Collins, 74, and Daniel Jones, 58, – have already pleaded guilty to their involvement in the raid.

But, according to the Evening Standard, the hunt is still on "for the man who got away". Police are offering £20,000 to "trap the mystery ginger-haired figure known only as Basil", who was caught on CCTV with a set of keys that the police say enabled the gang to enter the building.

The men used heavy cutting equipment to break into a vault at Hatton Garden Safe Deposit Ltd and ransack 56 boxes. Two thirds of the valuables have yet to be recovered.

Scotland Yard detectives have admitted they don't know where Basil is.

"While the hunt for the missing gems will continue, the question remains, who and where is the mysterious 'Basil' and if police find him, will they also find the outstanding loot?" asks the Daily Telegraph.

The man "let the others in through a rear fire escape door", says Martin Brunt, crime correspondent for Sky News, and "appears to have been the one with knowledge of the vault, because others blamed him for not properly disabling the alarm that went off".

Brunt suggests Basil could have been a former security guard or one of the "four or five" unidentified potential customers shown around the vault in the year before the raid. He thinks Basil was "the cleverest of the gang" as he always had his face masked and wore no distinctive clothing that might give himself away.

Then afterwards, "he simply vanished".

Hatton Garden trial: what we have learned so far 

25 November 2015

A gang of pensioners and hardened criminals carried out the biggest burglary in English legal history when they stole goods worth £14m from London's diamond district this year, a court has heard.

The thieves broke into a vault on Hatton Garden and emptied safety deposit boxes of jewels, precious metals and cash during an audacious heist over the Easter weekend.

The trial of four men began at Woolwich Crown Court this week. Here's what we know so far:

Who is on trial?

The jury is hearing evidence against four men accused of being involved in the heist. William Lincoln, 60; John Harbinson, 42; and Carl Wood, 58, have been charged with conspiracy to burgle.

Along with 48-year old Hugh Doyle, they are also charged with conspiracy to conceal, convert or transfer criminal property, the The Guardian reports. They all deny the charges.  A mystery burglar with red hair known only as "Basil" remains at large.

Four other men whom prosecutors describe as the "ringleaders" have already admitted their role in the robbery and will be sentenced at a later date.  John Collins, 75; Daniel Jones, 58; Terry Perkins, 67; and Brian Reader, 76, have all pleaded guilty to conspiracy to burgle. 

"These four ringleaders and organisers of this conspiracy, although senior in years, brought with them a great deal of experience in planning and executing sophisticated and serious acquisitive crime not dissimilar to this," said prosecutor Philip Evans

What do we know so far?

The thieves arrived in a van posing as gas repairmen and managed to get into the building via a fire escape on April 2. They reportedly abseiled down a lift shaft and then drilled a large hole through a thick concrete wall at Hatton Garden Safe Deposit Company to gain access to the deposit boxes.

The raid took two days because their 10-tonne hydraulic ram was faulty, forcing them to leave and come back later, Evans said.

The plot had been three years in the making, said Evans. The men planned the burglary during regular meetings at The Castle pub on Pentonville Road in Islington, north London, the court heard.

"Long before what happened during two different nights in early April, these defendants met frequently, very often on a Friday, to discuss how the burglary was to be successfully carried out".

The men researched drilling videos on YouTube and a copy of Forensics for Dummies was found when police raided Jones' house, said Evans.

The jury was told that much of the evidence had come had come from mobile and landline telephone data, and that the burglars had left no "forensic trace," the BBC reports.

Though some of the jewels have since been recovered, nearly £9m of the stolen valuables remains missing. Some lower value goods have been found, but many loose precious stones and gold, platinum and other precious metal bars are still unaccounted for.

The trial continues.

Hatton Garden raid: police dig up stolen property in cemetery

16 October

Police have recovered some of the haul from the Hatton Garden safety deposit box raid after allowing one of the burglars out of prison for the day to show them the spot in a north London cemetery where he had buried it.

An armed convoy with a police helicopter flying overhead took Danny Jones from Belmarsh Prison to the cemetery at midday on Thursday, reports Sky News. As soon as he had shown them the spot, he was taken back to jail.

A dozen officers in forensic suits dug the site while ten armed officers stood guard. Mourners were allowed to lay flowers on nearby graves during the four-hour dig.

According to Sky's crime correspondent, Martin Brunt, stolen property was indeed recovered and taken away in "several boxes".

The dramatic excavation comes after Brunt received letters from Jones in prison in which he said he wanted to "do the right thing" and give up his share of the haul, which is now believed by police to have been worth around £20m.

Writing from Belmarsh before his haul was recovered, Jones complained that he had been told the prison wouldn't release him.

"What a load of bull," he wrote. "I'm the only person in the world to know where it is deep down. I want to do the right thing and give it back.

"If I don't get the chance to go out under armed escort, I hope some poor sod who's having it hard out there with his or her family find the lot and have a nice life, as you never know, Martin, people do find things, don't they?"

Brunt observed that Jones gave no explanation of why he could not simply tell the police where to look, while remaining in prison.

Jones, 58, is one of four men who have pleaded guilty to carrying out the audacious raid over the Easter weekend. Five others have pleaded not guilty and are due to stand trial next month.

Over the Easter weekend, a gang spent two days drilling through the vault wall and breaking into safety deposit boxes at their leisure.

Hatton Garden raider claims 'anyone' could find his loot

08 October

One of the men behind the Hatton Garden heist claims a member of the public could stumble across his share of the £20m haul.

Danny Jones, 58, has confessed to his part in the Easter weekend raid and asked police to take him out of his high security prison so he can show them where he stashed the loot.

In a letter to Sky News crime correspondent Martin Brunt, he said he feared that if the police did not hurry up, "anyone" could find it, raising the prospect of a treasure hunt.

Jones, from Enfield, north London, is one of four men, aged between 58 and 76, to plead guilty to burgling the Hatton Garden safe deposit centre. They are awaiting sentence, while five others have pleaded not guilty and will stand trial in November.

Jones told Brunt: "If I don't get the chance to go out under armed escort, I hope some poor sod who's having it hard out there with his or her family find the lot and have a nice life, as you never know, Martin, people do find things, don't they?"

But in a second letter, written three weeks later, he said he still had not heard from the police about whether they would come to take him out. "They better hurry up, we don't want anyone finding it, do we?" he wrote.

Describing himself as a "burnt-out burglar", he said it would be "stupid" for police to think he might pose a security risk by being allowed out. However, he did not explain why he could not just tell officers where they could find the stolen goods themselves.

Brunt notes that inmates "are allowed to be taken from their cells to help police investigations, but under strict rules and security".

Scotland Yard believes £20m worth of jewellery, gems and cash was stolen, almost double the £10m previously estimated by police, but far less than the £200m figure suggested by some newspapers at the time.

A Metropolitan Police spokesman told Sky News that the force was not prepared to discuss an ongoing investigation.

Hatton Garden heist: eight suspects charged

21 May

Officers from the Metropolitan Police's Flying Squad investigating the Hatton Garden jewellery heist, have charged eight men between the ages of 48 and 76 with conspiracy to burgle.

The men were remanded in custody yesterday evening to appear at Westminster Magistrates Court later today, the BBC reports. A ninth man who was also arrested has been released on bail pending further enquiries, police said.

The contents of 56 safe deposit boxes were stolen during a raid in London's jewellery district over the Easter bank holiday weekend. It is believed property worth up to £200m was taken.

The Flying Squad was previously forced to apologise after it emerged a security firm's call about an intruder alert at the premises shortly after midnight on Good Friday received no response.

Last night's charges came after around 200 officers raided 12 addresses in north London and Kent. A number of large bags were removed from one address during the raids.

Police, who are "confident" they have recovered some of the property stolen during the burglary, say they have "done their utmost to bring justice to the victims of this callous crime". However, insurance experts say the recovery of even a small amount of stolen property could knock the insurance claims of all the victims off course as insurers seek to establish what may be returned to its rightful owners.

The men facing charges are Terry Perkins, 67, Daniel Jones, 58, Hugh Doyle, 48, all from Enfield. Also charged were William Lincoln, 59, of Bethnal Green, and John Collins, 74, of north London. Brian Reeder, 76, and Paul Reeder, 50, both of Dartford, and Carl Wood, 58, of Cheshunt, face the same charge.

Hatton Garden heist: two more arrests amid white van appeal 

20 May

Two more men have been detained in connection with the Hatton Garden heist over Easter weekend, bringing the total number of arrests to nine.

More than 200 officers raided 12 addresses in north London and Kent yesterday, recovering a large amount of property believed to have been stolen from a vault in London's jewellery district.

A giant haul of gems and cash was taken during the first weekend of April after a gang of thieves reportedly tunnelled into a lift shaft at Hatton Garden Safe Deposit Ltd, abseiled down and smashed their way into the vault.

The nine men arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to steal are all in their forties or older, with the eldest aged 76. They were taken to an unnamed police station and remain in custody.

An announcement that all suspects were white British males put paid to early speculation that an eastern European gang may have been behind the robbery, reports The Guardian.

Detective Superintendent Craig Turner, head of Scotland Yard's Flying Squad, said it had been an "exceptional, complex investigation" and urged victims of the heist to "stay patient" as police try to return property back to their rightful owners.

Turner also appealed to the public for help in tracing a white Transit van, with the registration DU53 VNG, seen around the Hatton Garden area at the time of the raid.

The force is holding an "ongoing review" into why an alarm, which was apparently triggered in the building as early as Friday on Easter weekend, did not result in a police call out.

In a statement delivered outside New Scotland Yard, Police Commander Peter Spindler apologised for the fact that officers did not attend, explaining that the "systems and processes that we have in place with the alarm companies weren't followed".

He added that police were working closely with the alarm industry to make sure that it does not happen again.

However, he said that a security officer who was sent to the premises found that the multi-occupancy building appeared secure and no alarm was sounding. Spindler said officers were unlikely to have found anything more than this had they been deployed.

Hatton Garden heist: police arrest 7 men in morning raid

19 May

Police investigating the Hatton Garden heist arrested seven men this morning after raiding 12 addresses in north London and Kent.

A gang of thieves reportedly abseiled down a lift shaft over Easter weekend and broke into a vault in London's jewellery district to steal a giant haul of gems and cash.

More than 200 officers took part in the raid, recovering a large amount of property and detaining seven men aged between 48 and 76 for conspiracy to burgle.

Four of the men, aged 67, 74, 58 and 48, were arrested in Enfield; one, aged 59, was arrested in east London; and two other men, aged 76 and 50, were arrested in Dartford. They have all been taken to an unnamed London police station as officers continue to search the properties.

In a statement, Scotland Yard said: "A number of large bags containing significant amounts of high value property have been recovered from one address. Officers are confident these are items stolen during the burglary."

Police also apologised today for the fact that officers had not attended the scene when an intruder alarm went off on the Friday night.

"On this occasion our call handling system and procedures for working with the alarm monitoring companies were not followed," said the force. "Our normal procedures would have resulted in police attending the scene, and we apologise that this did not happen."

However, it added that the security guard who did attend the building saw nothing more than officers would have done had they been deployed.

"Over the last six weeks Scotland Yard's Flying Squad has worked relentlessly, supported by officers from covert policing and major crime commands, to track down those responsible, and recover what was taken," it said. "An intense investigation has been undertaken to ensure the victims, the individual box owners, the small businesses and the wider Hatton Garden community can get justice."

Hatton Garden heist: thieves 'tunnelled' into gem vault

8 April

A gang of thieves reportedly abseiled down a lift shaft and broke into a vault in London's Hatton Garden jewellery district to steal a giant haul of gems and cash.

Scotland Yard's Flying Squad are investigating the heist, which took place at a safety deposit centre in London's jewellery quarter over the weekend.

The Sun claims it is Britain's biggest heist, with the "professional crooks" stealing gems and cash worth an estimated £200m, although other newspapers suggest the value was lower.

Diamond dealers and gold traders are thought to use the vault to store their stock during long weekends.

One source told The Sun that the thieves had tunnelled their way into the building's lift shaft and then abseiled down the shaft to the basement and smashed their way through a wall into the vault. Police confirmed that "heavy cutting equipment" had been used.

"The raid closely resembles a 1971 Lloyds Bank blag in London's Baker Street – the model for the 2008 Jason Statham movie The Bank Job," says the newspaper.

The Daily Mirror says the gang disabled alarms before cutting through the vault's 18in door and breaking into as many as half of the 600 boxes it reportedly contained. Customers are still waiting for police to confirm which boxes have been taken.

The Mirror says the thieves could have been inside the centre for the entire Easter weekend. An alarm was apparently triggered as early as Friday but security guards carried out a cursory check and found no sign of a disturbance.

The Times claims the gang also stole the building's CCTV hard drive, which was stored nearby, "suggesting some level of insider knowledge".

Mohammed Shah, a precious stones wholesaler, with around £100,000 worth of gems in the vault, told the newspaper: "Everybody wants to know what has been taken but the police are not telling us anything. I am insured but many people who use these boxes are not. Nobody really knows what is kept in these boxes."


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