Car dealer remanded over £53m robbery

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A wealthy car dealer and two other people appeared in court yesterday charged with being involved in Britain's biggest cash robbery. John Fowler, 60, was remanded in custody at Maidstone magistrates' court amid tight security.

He appeared with his business associate Stuart Royle, 47, and Mr Royle's girlfriend, Kim Shackleton, 38, in connection with the £53m Securitas depot raid in Tonbridge, Kent.

Mr Fowler, of Elderden Farm, Staplehurst, Kent, was charged with conspiracy to rob, and three counts of kidnapping the Securitas manager, Colin Dixon, his wife, Lynn, and their son, Craig, aged nine.

A fifth charge was put to him that, jointly with Ms Shackleton, he handled stolen goods. Mr Royle, from Maidstone, was charged with conspiracy to rob. All three were remanded in custody until 13 March. Mr Fowler's wife, Linda, 48, has been freed on bail.

Police are believed to have found as much as £20m buried near Mr Fowler's home at Elderden Farm.

A fourth person was charged last night with conspiracy to commit robbery. Jetmir Bucpapa, 24, lives in Tonbridge and is unemployed. He will appear at Maidstone magistrates court today.