Hatton Garden jewel thieves faced justice today after committing the biggest burglary in British history, an audacious heist at the heart of London’s Gem district.
Three men were found guilty for their part in the record breaking £14 million heist.
Seven men now await sentencing for their part in the ‘biggest tom in the history of the f****** world’.
The men were eventually caught after police bugged their bragging conversations.
The Evening Standard reports:
A once revered figure known as the “Master” or “Guv’nor” for his crimes and contacts with violence but later was derided for losing his nerve
Brian Reader earned his notoriety from his close friendship with double killer Kenny Noye.
He started his criminal career specialising in burglaries on wholesale jewellers targeting gold in particular.
He and Noye made their fortune cheating VAT on gold – which then carried only a maximum of two years imprisonment – and by 1981 were said to be earning £200,000 a year each.
He was Noye’s trusted aide in moving the gold bullion from the £26 million stolen Brink’s-Mat bullion.
Criss-crossing London and ferrying the bars from Kent to the West Country, Reader did business with some of the most notorious gangsters of 1980s including Michael Lawson, Tommy Adams, John “Little Legs” Lloyd and Solly Nahome.
Reader was with Noye when Noye stabbed to death DC John Fordham in the grounds of his Kent mansion in 1984.
Reader ran off when the police arrived and hitched a lift outside a pub on the A20 only to find he had been picked up by an unmarked police car with two Kent detectives.
Reader was charged with Noye with the murder of the policeman but in a dramatic Old Bailey trial in November 1984 both men were cleared.
After stepping from the dock both men were then re-arrested and charged with handling the stolen bullion and conspiracy to avoid VAT.
They were convicted in a May 1985 and Noye told the jury: “I hope you die of cancer.”
Reader said: “You have made one terrible mistake, you have to live with that for the rest of your lives.”
His son, Paul Reader, then aged 20, scuffled with police in the public gallery yelling “you have been fixed up”. He was fined £1,000 for contempt of court.
Noye got 13 years plus two for failing to pay fines because his assets had been frozen by the insurers trying to recover the BM gold.
Reader got nine years and was described by Judge Richard Lowry QC as “Noye’s vigorous right hand man.”
Paul Reader was also arrested over the Hatton Garden heist but charges were dropped before the trial.
Celebrated his 67th birthday during the heist
Revelled in his fame as a member of the £6 million Securicor robbery on vaults in Curtain Road near Moorgate.
In June 1985 he was sentenced to 22 years imprisonment at the Old Bailey.
Police believe he was inside the Hatton Garden building posing as a builder to study the workings of the lift.
At this Enfield home police found jewellery, cash, blue overalls, five pairs of white fabric gloves and euros.
The police bug in his Citroen Saxo car revealed all of the swaggering arrogance and profanity. He brags: “They can’t work it out. That is the biggest robbery that could have ever, ever been.”
He tells Jones: “That will never happen again. The biggest robbery in the f****** world, Dan, we was on and that c***.”
He also made plans for his share of the loot, including Indian necklaces, bangles and pendants.
Said Perkins on the bug: “I’m going to melt my good gold down. The Indian … that could be my pension if I could get half an idea of what’s there, know what I mean?”
One man was acquitted according to Breaking News Ireland:
The gang of thieves carried out the “sophisticated” and meticulously planned break-in over the Easter weekend last year.
They ransacked 73 boxes at Hatton Garden Safety Deposit Ltd after using a drill to bore a hole into the vault wall.
Valuables worth up to £14 million, including gold, diamonds and sapphires, were taken.
Two thirds of them remain unrecovered.
Carl Wood, 58, of Elderbeck Close, Cheshunt, Hertfordshire; and William Lincoln, 60, of Winkley Street, Bethnal Green, east London, were convicted of conspiracy to commit burglary and conspiracy to conceal, convert or transfer criminal property.
Jon Harbinson, 42, of Beresford Gardens, Benfleet, Essex, was cleared of the two offences.
Plumber Hugh Doyle, 48, of Riverside Gardens, Enfield, north London, was found guilty of concealing, converting or transferring criminal property between January 1 and May 19 this year.
None of the men showed any reaction as they were convicted.
Another thief, known only as “Basil”, let his co-conspirators into the building by opening the fire escape from inside. He has not been identified.
All of the men are due to be sentenced by Judge Christopher Kinch QC on March 7.
Ringleaders John “Kenny” Collins, 75, Daniel Jones, 60, Terry Perkins, 67, and the group’s oldest member Brian Reader, 76, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit burglary last September.
It can now also be reported that Perkins’s daughter Terri Robinson, 35, of Sterling Road, Enfield, faces being jailed alongside him after she pleaded guilty to concealing, converting or transferring criminal property.
Her brother-in-law Brenn Walters, 43, who is also known as Ben Perkins, also admitted the same offence.
Doyle was readmitted to bail, with Judge Kinch saying: “He has been convicted, albeit of the slightest of counts on the indictment of any defendant in this case.
“Nonetheless, his conviction (is) in relation to involvement in an extremely significant matter, and one which is likely to carry or result in a custodial sentence.
“That said, I take the view that he has acted responsibly since being granted bail.”
The group of thieves who broke into the vault included participants of some of the most notorious heists of the last century – Reader had been involved in the £26 million gold bullion Brinks Mat robbery, and Perkins was a player in the £6 million Security Express raid.
But despite their experience in acquisitive crime, it took the bungling “Bad Grandpas” two nights to breach the vault, and they were caught after covert recording devices planted in their cars captured them boasting of their endeavours.
Jones bragged about the raid in one recording, saying: “The biggest cash robbery in history at the time and now the biggest Tom in the f****** world, that’s what they are saying … and what a book you could write, f****** hell’.”
Perkins was caught saying the gold from the raid was going to be his pension.
“I’m going to melt my good gold down. The Indian, the 18, that could be my pension if I could get half an idea of what’s there, you know what I mean,” he said.
Prosecutor Philip Evans told the jury “a very substantial quantity of gold, jewellery, precious stones, cash and other items were stolen from the vault in the basement of a building at 88-90 Hatton Garden”.
Referring to the men who pleaded guilty, he said: “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.
“This offence was to be the largest burglary in English legal history.”
After the men were arrested, police raided their homes and discovered a number of stolen goods, including gold, and precious gems. A book called Forensics For Dummies was found at Jones’s house. There was no forensic trace left at the vault.
Searches of Reader’s home revealed a book on the diamond underworld, a diamond tester, a diamond gauge, diamond magazines, and a distinctive scarf seen on CCTV at Hatton Garden on the night of April 2.
Although present on the first night of the burglary, he did not return for the second.
Saying that only one third of the estimated £14 million had been recovered, Mr Evans added: “This leaves, somewhere in the world, a great deal of criminal property from Hatton Garden, which has been concealed, converted or transferred.”
The men would often meet a short distance from London’s diamond district, making plans at The Castle pub on Pentonville Road in Islington, and Scotti’s, a nearby cafe.
Some also took part in reconnaissance.
Reader – recognisable by his striped socks and brown shoes – Jones, Perkins, Collins, allegedly Wood, and the man known as “Basil” entered Hatton Garden Safe Deposit at around 9.20pm on April 2.
CCTV footage shows them arriving in a white van and unloading tools, bags, metal joists and wheelie bins.
The men used walkie-talkies to communicate and their mobile phones were in “radio silence”.
However, after they were unable to gain access to the vault on the first night, the gang returned on April 4.
Once inside, the men used the lift shaft to access the basement, disabled the alarm and drilled into the vault wall using a drill they had taken with them.
They were eventually seen emerging from the building with holdalls and wheelie bins laden with stolen goods.
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