Eight are jailed for total of 67 years after £33m Heathrow raid is foiled

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The Independent Online

The gang, which was foiled by police, tried to raid the Swissport cargo warehouse in May last year in what could have been one of Britain's biggest robberies.

Police believe that had the robbers from Berkshire and London succeeded they could have made off with £33m in gold bars, foreign currency and diamonds.

Jailing the eight at Kingston Crown Court, Judge Edward Southwell told the gang they had been playing for "high stakes" and were motivated purely by greed.

Speaking after the hearing, Detective Superintendent Barry Phillips, from Scotland Yard's Flying Squad, praised the "bravery and professionalism of the operational team" who thwarted the robbers.

Martin Nolan, 30, one of the main organisers of the raid, was sentenced to 13 years at an earlier trial.

His brother Steven,24, was sentenced to eight years for his role in the robbery and six months for aggravated car theft. Christopher Smith, 29, and James Fox, 31, were each sentenced to eight years. John Davis, 22, Derek Sheehan, 33, and Alan Larmont, 31, each received seven-and-a-half year sentences. Anthony Charles, 36, who drove the van, got a sentence of six years and nine months.

Police have yet to track down the inside man at Swissport who gave the gang vital information on the day of the raid. Philip Hillier, 37, of Stanwell, south-west London, was accused of being the inside man but was cleared by a jury.

The court was told that no firearms were used and that, although they threatened warehouse staff with batons and hockey sticks, they did not attack anyone.