Net closing in on '£50m robbery gang'

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The Independent Online

Police were today examining "a number of significant items" including guns and steel cages thought to have been used in the multi-million pound Securitas raid.

Detectives announced earlier today that items found in an abandoned white van in Ashford, Kent, included not only bags of cash but also firearms, balaclavas and body armour.

And Kent Police today also revealed that 14 steel cages and packaging material were recovered from fields close to Coldblow Lane in Detling, near Maidstone, late on Friday evening.

A spokesman said: "After an initial examination, the inquiry team is now satisfied that that these cages were used to move the money from the cash depot on the night of the robbery."

The announcements came as Kent Police questioned two more people in connection with the robbery in which up to £50 million may have been stolen.

Forensic experts are continuing to examine bags of cash recovered from the white Transit van spotted by a member of the public in the car park of the Ashford International Hotel.

Police are yet to confirm how much cash was found in the van and if the money was taken from the Tonbridge depot during the raid in the early hours of Wednesday.

Assistant Chief Constable of Kent, Adrian Leppard, said: "We have recovered cash, firearms, balaclavas and flak jackets similar in style to body armour inside the van."

And describing the importance of the find, Mr Leppard said: "This discovery is important because of the description we have of the robbers. We know they were wearing this type of clothing.

"Leaving firearms, clothing and cash in the van suggests to me that there are people in the gang who are now making mistakes. They are under pressure and we want to keep the pressure on. I am very encouraged at this stage by the progress we are making. The net is closing in."

The Securitas depot boss targeted by the gang spoke for the first time yesterday about his family's "horrific" ordeal.

Colin Dixon, 51, said the "terror" he, his wife Lynn, 45, and young son Craig had experienced had amounted to the "worst night of my life" and he appealed for the public's help in catching the " terrible" gang.

Meanwhile, police say are currently following a number of lines of enquiry to establish how the metal cages were dumped at Detling.

The cages and the lane where they were found are now subject to a detailed forensic examination.

A number dark green coloured cages found are owned by the Bank of England. The others are generally used by Securitas for cash storage. They are coloured red, blue and silver and are in different sizes.

Mr Leppard added: "These events represent significant developments in the investigation. I am hopeful that we will manage to gain key forensic evidence from these recoveries. As I have said before I am confident we will catch those responsible."