Securicor van driver jailed for his part in £6.6m armed robbery

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The Independent Online

A former police officer was jailed for 14 years yesterday for his part in one of Europe's biggest armed robberies.

Graham Huckerby, 42, was the "inside man" in the £6.6m raid at the Midland Bank's cheque clearing centre in Salford in 1995. He was working as a Securicor driver when he agreed to provide information to a team of robbers in return for a payment of £2,500.

During a delivery to the

centre he was "ambushed" by three masked men who bound him with tape and handcuffed him to railings. The gang made off with £4.4m in cash and £2.2m in cheques, none of which has been recovered.

Huckerby's "handler", James Power, 60, from Bury, was also jailed for 14 years at Minshull Street Crown Court in Manchester. Both were found guilty

of conspiracy to rob at their retrial last month.

Twelve people were originally arrested in 1999 in connection with the robbery, of whom seven were charged.

During the first trial last year, two were found not guilty with no verdicts reached on Huckerby, a former Greater Manchester Police officer, and Power. Proceedings against three other men were stayed before the trial began.

Passing sentence yesterday, Judge Lakin said: "This was

a highly professional, well planned and carefully executed robbery of a Securicor van. The conspiracy behind it involved meticulous planning and attention to detail." The judge said the robbery was planned for Monday morning, when the van would be full of "a huge amount of money", and at a cheque clearing centre, where security was lower than at a cash handling centre.

"While I have no doubt this offence was masterminded by more criminally sophisticated people than you two, you took a role in the scheme," he said.

The judge said Huckerby had been given a job which demanded trust. "You breached that trust," he said. "Without your help, this offence may never have taken place."

Power had links to the criminal fraternity and had the power to manipulate others, said the judge. "You were also crucial to the success of this conspiracy," he said. "You ensured Huckerby did what was required of him and did not deviate from the overall plan."

Huckerby told the police he was a "terrified" victim of an armed raid. But soon after the incident he began to enjoy a jet-set lifestyle. He paid off maintenance arrears, took a three-week trip to America and made a series of bank deposits.

An undercover police officer, known only as Barry, joined Securicor and officers began to suspect Huckerby was the inside man. He had failed to carry out any of the emergency procedures for a robbery and allowed the masked men to hijack the bombproof van.