Three pensioners, including a 76-year-old second-hand car dealer and his 50-year-old son, are among a group of nine British men who have been arrested by Flying Squad detectives hunting the gang responsible for the daring Hatton Garden jewel heist.
It is believed that Brian Reader and his son, known as Paul but also called Brian, were arrested in a raid on their home in Dartford, Kent.
The pair are thought to run a second-hand car dealership called Pentire Cars from the property. There was no answer when The Independent called the phone number listed for the company.
Detectives from the Flying Squad arrested the nine men for conspiracy to burgle after a series of raids, Scotland Yard said, with more than 200 officers involved across 12 addresses in London and Kent. Three of the men are aged 67, 74 and 76, two are aged 58, and the rest 43, 48, 59 and 50. Four of the suspects were arrested in Enfield, two in Dartford and one in east London.
Officers recovered a "significant amount of high-value property" which they believe was stolen during the raid on the safe deposit company over the Easter bank holiday.
Police said that it was too early to say whether victims of the jewellery heist would get their belongings back, but a source said that "if it does turn out that we have people's property and they can be established as the rightful owners, then of course we will return it".
The Met has faced criticism over the raid, particularly after it emerged that police did not respond to a burglar alarm at the scene.
In a statement, Commander Spindler said: "The Metropolitan Police takes these types of crimes very seriously.
"At times we've been portrayed as if we have acted like Keystone Cops but I want to reassure you that in the finest traditions of Scotland Yard, these detectives have done their utmost to bring justice to the victims of this callous crime.
"They've worked tirelessly and relentlessly, they've put their lives on hold over the last six or seven weeks to make sure that justice is served. They've exemplified the finest attributes of Scotland Yard detectives."
Police had offered a £20,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of all those involved and released images of the Hilti DD350 drill that was used to bore a hole 20in (50cm) deep, 10in (25cm) high, and 18in (45cm) into the vault wall.
Mr Strong, Mr Ginger and The Gent were among the colourful nicknames given to the thieves, similar to the characters in Quentin Tarantino’s heist film Reservoir Dogs, after police released images of the men caught on CCTV during the raid. Reports initially suggested an Eastern European gang were the prime suspects and that the stolen jewels and other luxury items would have been quickly melted or broken down and sent abroad.
Some reports suggested that the value of the property stolen in the heist was as much as £200 million. Officers said the thieves had disabled a communal lift on the second floor of the building and then used the vacant shaft to climb down to the basement, where they broke through a locked gate and drilled through into the vault.
In the wake of the incident, loss adjusters at Marchant and Marchant Limited said they were working with some victims who had "lost their livelihoods" in the raid. Their chances of recovering their losses were then described as "pretty remote".
Following the arrests, the Met have appealed for information about a white Transit van with the registration DU53 VNG that was seen on CCTV in the area around the time of the raid.
Det Sup Turner said that police had been in possession of the footage for “quite a period of time”, but it had not been released for operational reasons. The van has not been recovered.
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