Hatton Garden raid: What we now know about the £200m jewellery heist following arrests

Police have now made a series of arrests during morning raids

Adam Withnall
Wednesday 20 May 2015 13:27
The sign outside the Hatton Garden safe deposit centre
The sign outside the Hatton Garden safe deposit centre

Police have announced the arrest of seven men in relation to the extraordinary Hatton Garden heist, ending weeks of almost total silence from detectives investigating the robbery.

Scotland Yard claimed the Flying Squad members involved in cracking the case had “Put their lives on hold to make sure justice is served”.

So what do we now know about what happened at the safety deposit company over the Easter weekend? Here’s a breakdown.

Thieves took up to £200m

Between 60 and 70 safety deposit boxes were opened by thieves during the raid, the Metropolitan Police has said.

Its specialist Flying Squad, which has a remit to span different London boroughs, led the investigation. And its former chief Roy Ramm said at the time that he “would not be surprised” if £200m of goods were taken – adding that the actual figure would probably never be declared in full.

There was no sign of forced entry

Police were called on 8.10am on Tuesday 7 April – the site of the robbery had been deserted over the Easter weekend, giving thieves a big window in which to work.

Suspects entering and leaving the scene of the burglary during the Hatton Garden Safe Deposit company raid.

They found no sign of forced entry. Instead, thieves had disabled a communal lift on the second floor of the building and used the shaft to climb down to the basement.

Drilled through two metres of concrete

Once underground, the thieves forced open heavy shutter doors to the basement and made their way to the vault. There, they used a heavy duty Hilti DD350 drill to bore holes in the two-metre thick re-enforced concrete wall of the vault.

A local jeweller said residents had been prepared for the sound of drilling after many received a letter informing them of works related to the Crossrail project.

The thieves used a heavy duty drill to bore huge holes into the concrete vault wall

Police ignored an alarm

In the days after the heist, police admitted they had received an alarm activated at Hatton Garden Safe Deposit Ltd – which was ignored.

The Met received the alert at 20 minutes after midnight on Good Friday, but it was deemed not to require a police response. Scotland Yard has said that a security guard who attended the scene “saw nothing more than our officers would have done”.

Scotland Yard Flying Squad Detective Chief Inspector Paul Johnson reads out a statement. The Metropolitan Police has come under fire for failing to respond to an automated call as the burglars were inside

Police have nonetheless apologised, saying: “On this occasion the systems and processes that we have in place with the alarm companies weren't followed and as a result of that officers did not attend the premises when in fact they probably should have done and for that I want to apologise.”

Police suspect an inside job

The mystery of how thieves got inside the building in the first place saw them request all companies in the building for employee lists.

One source told The Independent: “The police are checking the status of current and former employees from firms in the building, as well as people who had access to the building, because now that they know the gang did not force their way into the building they presume an [insider] must have helped them.”

Thieves climbed down a communal lift shaft and then bent open a security shutter to get into the basement

The thieves may have struck before

According to The Times, a burglary of bank vaults in the German capital two years ago bears many of the hallmarks of the Easter raid and the perpetrators had never been found.

Then, a gang dug a 45 metre underground tunnel and drilled through almost a metre of reinforced concrete to reach hundreds of safety deposit boxes, getting away with diamonds, gold and silver worth more than €10 million (£8.3 million).

Police had offered a reward

Scotland Yard had previously put up a £20,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the “Ocean’s 11 type team” involved in the burglary.

Burglars got away with millions of pounds of gems

Detective Superintendent Craig Turner, head of the Flying Squad investigating the case, appeared on BBC’s Crimewatch and even called on members of the criminal community who may have seen the “specialised” drill in the hands of a gang to get in touch.

Seven arrests on conspiracy to burgle

Scotland Yard said its investigation had been “tireless and relentless” despite its silence in the media, and trumpeted the arrest of seven men, aged between 48 and 76, after raids at 12 addresses across London and Kent.

Jewels on display at the Hatton Garden Safe Deposit

More than 200 officers raided properties this morning, and four suspects - aged 67, 74, 58, and 48 were arrested in Enfield.

A 59-year-old man was detained in east London, while a man aged 76 was held in Dartford, with a 50-year-old.

The men have been arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to burgle, and police said a “large amount” of property had been retrieved which officers were confident had been stolen from Hatton Garden.

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