Hatton Garden jewellery burglary: Details of the 'chaotic' scene inside the vault revealed by officers

As much as £200 million worth of jewels may have been taken from the boxes in the well-planned heist

Rose Troup Buchanan
Thursday 09 April 2015 19:31
A policeman emerges from a Hatton Garden safe deposit centre on April 7, 2015 in London, England.
A policeman emerges from a Hatton Garden safe deposit centre on April 7, 2015 in London, England.

Details of the "chaotic" scenes inside the burgled safe deposit box firm's vault have been revealed, as more information surrounding the £200 million heist emerges.

There was no sign of forced entry on the outside, although – as suspected – thieves had disabled the communal lift on the second floor and then used the vacant shaft to climb down to the basement, a Met Police spokesperson said today.

They described the scene that greeted officers after the police were called at 8.10 on Tuesday, arriving to a vault “covered in dust and debris,” with the floor “strewn with discarded safety deposit boxes”.

The thieves had also discarded “numerous” power tools, including an angle grinder, concrete drills and crowbars.

Some of these are believed to have been used to drill through the two-metre thick re-enforced concrete wall.

The details emerged alongside suggestions that the theft was planned by the notorious ‘King of Diamonds’, and that the thieves may have deliberately started an underground fire nearby prior to the heist.

Meanwhile, Britain’s top footballers could be among the victims of the million pound theft over the Easter Weekend.

Many of the raided boxes at the Holborne store in London are used by nearby jewellers, some of whom are known to undertake commissions for Premier League stars.

The Easter Weekend raid, in which thieves made off with “approximately 60 to 70” safe deposit boxes according to Scotland Yard, has drawn intense media interest with estimates for the total value of the haul spiralling to £200 million.

Forensic experts continue to scour the building for clues as details about the well-planned raid emerged.

John O’Connor, former head of Scotland Yard's Flying Squad, believes an underground fire in Holborn was probably "deliberate" and had arranged by the thieves in order to disrupt power to the vault.

"I've never heard of an outage of electricity like that causing a fire that lasted as long as that. That seems to me too much of a coincidence," he told LBC radio earlier today.

A local jeweller said that the sound of drilling would not have surprised nearby residents as many had been sent a letter informing them of works related to the Crossrail project.

Jewels on display at the Hatton Garden Safe Deposit

“This was a very slick operation and the role of the draftsman [planner] was vital to get the detail exactly right,” Barry Phillips, chairman of the newly reinstated Flying Squad Association, the Met branch that deals with bank heists and robberies, said.

“There simply aren’t that many faces who could have done it,” he told The Sun.

Mr Phillips, a retired Detective Chief Superintendent, added you “cannot ignore” the so-called ‘King of Diamonds,’ a shadowy criminal figure who is thought to have masterminded the £40 million Graff diamond theft in 2009.

The man, believed to have connections to the west midlands, is then thought to have moved to Spain but The Sun claims he was recently seen back in the UK.

A police forensics officer entering the Hatton Garden Safe Deposit company

A Met spokesperson refused to comment on the speculation around the perpetrators of the crime, telling The Independent that forensic teams were still searching the building.

“This is a slow and painstaking process involving forensic examination, photographing the scene and recovering exhibits in meticulous detail in order to preserve the evidence,” they added.