Armed airport gang gets £1.75m

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An armed gang who shot at a warehouse worker during a robbery at Heathrow Airport stole £1.75m in cash, police have revealed.

The gang, believed to number up to six, raided the Menzies World cargo shed at the airport late Friday night, restraining 15 workers using plastic handcuffs.

Three male employees suffered minor injuries while they were being held, and one was pistol whipped. One of the captives attempted to escape and was shot at. He was not injured but was captured by one of the thieves and taken back into the warehouse.

Scotland Yard said the gang, thought to have carried handguns, escaped with the cash, which was in sterling, by hijacking a van at gunpoint and stealing a car.

Five men were arrested in London and the home counties yesterday in connection with the incident and were being held in custody.

Detective Superintendent Mick Allen, of the Flying Squad, said: "We are searching for a further three suspects. These men were willing to use firearms in the robbery and could still be armed and extremely dangerous."

He also warned that anyone who knew the identity of the men who had escaped should contact police and not approach the robbers.

The theft recalled the Brinks Mat robbery of 26 November 1983, when a gang of south London armed robbers stole £26m in gold bullion. They "struck lucky" after abandoning some safes but then finding by chance cardboard boxes filled with 6,800 gold bars. It was a haul so huge that by the end of the day the panic inflicted on the world's bullion markets had swelled the value of their haul by a further £1m.