Heist at Heathrow as robbers get away with $6m

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The Independent Online

Two men carried out one of Britain's biggest cash robberies yesterday, stealing foreign currency worth £4.6m from a van in a high-security area at Heathrow airport.

A British Airways security van driver was attacked by the robbers, who may have had legitimate security passes to get into the secure cargo loading area near terminal 4.

The robbers forced the 35-year-old on to the ground and bound his feet and wrists before transferring eight cashboxes on to another British Airways van and driving away.

The money, about $6.5m in dollars and other currencies, had just been unloaded from British Airways flight 124 from Bahrain. The 187 passengers had already left the aircraft, which was being refuelled at about 6.30am.

There was speculation that the robbery could have been an inside job. The van was found burnt out two miles away in a residential area of Feltham, west London, with no sign of the suspects or the cash.

A Scotland Yard spokesman said the driver of the British Airways van had not seen any guns during the raid. He was treated for shock and minor injuries to his wrists at a hospital in west London.

BAA, the airport operator, was investigating how the offenders managed to penetrate the tightly controlled zone.

Scotland Yard declined to say if the incident had prompted a review of security, which had been increased since the 11 September terrorist attacks in the United States.

A spokeswoman for BAA said: "We are working closely with the police. We do not know yet if the offenders had legitimate security passes or not."