We take a look at the incredible, the inconceivable, the unimaginable; the world of heists and robberies. From well thought-out plans to lucky escapes, we delve into the very best. Click below to explore in full criminal investigatory fashionEnter
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Below is 5 of Britain’s biggest robberies and burglaries. They are ranked by the value of the goods stolen at the time of the crime, rather than being adjusted for inflation. Click on the crime to view the timeline to find out how much was stolen.
|5||BRINK’S - MAT ROBBERY|
|4||NORTHERN BANK ROBBERY|
|2||GRAFF JEWELLER'S ROBBERY|
|1||SECURITAS DEPOT ROBBERY|
It’s an early winter morning on the 26th November 1983, and six robbers are about to break into the Brink’s-Mat Warehouse, Unit 7 of the Heathrow International Trading Estate near Heathrow Airport, west London. The robbers intended to steal £3.6m in cash, but what they found was far more valuable.
Six robbers broke into the Brinks-Mat warehouse, by overwhelming security guard Anthony Black. Once inside they poured petrol over staff and threatened them with a match if they did not reveal the combination numbers of the vault.
With the help of Antony Blacks information they were able to disarm a vast array of electronic security systems and in nearly 2 hours they had finally stocked up their vans with the cases of gold and left the Brinks Mat warehouse.
The alarm was raised by one of the guards.
Two days later a couple saw a white-hot crucible operating in a garden hut at a neighbour’s property near Bath. When the police were contacted and arrived but they said it was just beyond their area and would pass information onto the police department responsible for that area. However a follow up was never done.
It’s just before bedtime on Sunday 20th December 2004 and a group of armed men posing as policemen arrive at the homes of two Northern Bank officials in Poleglass and Downpatrick. What comes next is a meticulously executed and highly manipulative plan.
Chris Ward is removed from his house in Poleglass by 3 armed robbers dressed as police officers. The rest of his family including mother, father, brother, and girlfriend are held hostage in the house. Mr Ward is taken in a red car to the home of his supervisor Kevin Mchullan, who he finds has already been taken hostage.
Mrs McMullan is taken away from the house to an undisclosed location where she is held and blindfolded at gun point for more than 24 hours.
The masked men leave the house in Downpatrick, leaving the bank officials with instructions about what they must do.
Mr McMullan and Mr Ward go into work and carry out their normal duties. They work in the cash centre in the basement of the bank, in Donegall Square, Wellington Street.
One of the workers leaves the bank carrying a holdall containing about £1m. He goes around the corner into Upper Queen Street where he hands the bag to another man. Police believe this was a trial run for the robbery that happened later.
McMullan and Ward remain at work after the close of the business, and they give entry to members of the gang, who begin to package the money for collection. The van and other vehicles make collections from the Wellington Street entrance of the bank.
Police and senior officials at the bank are alerted to the raid. Sam Kinkaid, head of the Police Service of Northern Ireland's Crime Operations branch, is briefed and immediately signals the start of the hunt for the gang involved.
It’s Sunday the 12th July 1987 and the Knightsbridge Security Deposit Centre is open by appointment only. By absolutely no coincidence a man on the inside has arranged an appointment with one of Italy’s most notorious bank robbers.
Two men entered the Knightsbridge Safe Deposit Centre and requested to rent a safe deposit box. After being shown the vault they produced handguns and subdue the manager and security guard. One of these men was Valerio Viccei. It would later be found that manager, Parvez Latif, was the inside man.
After letting in further accomplices, Viccei and his team broke apart 120 safe deposit boxes. To prevent any unwanted guests, closed signs and barriers were put up outside as a deterrent.
One hour after the raid, the police were alerted and the investigation started. With security footage non existent due to Parvez Latif shutting down the CCTV, the forensic investigators had to look for physical evidence. They recovered a bloody fingerprint that was traced to Valerio Viccei.
On 6th August 2009 Graff’s Jewellers on New Bond Street, London was host to the largest jewel robbery in UK history. What makes this robbery so special is that, even 5 years after the robbery none of the stolen jewels had been recovered.
Two sharply dressed men arrived at the Graff Diamonds jewellery store by taxi and once inside produced two handguns which they used to threaten staff.
The two men have forced staff to empty their cabinets, taking a total of 43 rings, bracelets, necklaces and watches.
The robbers offloaded the haul onto motorcyclists awaiting the stolen jewellery. After 25 minutes the two men then began their getaway in a blue BMW.
The vehicle was abandoned in nearby Dover Street, while the robbers switched to a second vehicle, a silver Mercedes.
The silver Mercedes was then abandoned and the whereabouts of its location were not known.
On Tuesday 21st February 2006 Colin Dixon was driving home from his managerial job at the Securitas Depot in Tonbridge, Kent. Little did he know he would later be used in a robbery plot that would become the most prolific UK robbery in history.
Two gang members, posing as police officers in an unmarked car persuade the Securitas cash depot manager Colin Dixon to pull over in his car at a lay-by close to the Three Squirrels pub on the A249 near Stockbury. One man spoke to Mr Dixon and convinces him to get into their Volvo car, where he is handcuffed.
Two other gang members, also posing as police, go to Mr Dixon's home in Herne Bay and tell his wife and eight-year-old son he has been involved in an accident.
Mr Dixon is driven west on the M20 motorway to the West Malling bypass, where he is bound further, transferred into a white van and driven around for 6 hours. After this, Mr Dixon is transported to a farm in Staplehurst, Kent.
Mrs Dixon and her son are taking to Elderden farm where they are joined by Mr Dixon and his captors. Mr Dixon is tied up at gunpoint and told he and his family will be killed if he does not co-operate.
Mr and Mrs Dixon and their son are taken to the cash depot in Tonbridge. Mr Dixon is forced to let one of the gang into the premises. The robber forces a member of staff at gunpoint to open a gate, allowing the other members of the gang to enter in a number of vehicles.
At least six men, some wearing masks or balaclavas and armed with handguns, threaten and tie up 14 members of staff, the manager and his wife and son. After loading the money - new and used banknotes - into a 7.5 tonne white Renault truck, the gang drive away from the depot.
Staff at the depot, who were shocked but uninjured, manage to activate an alarm to alert the police. Mr Dixon, his wife and their son escaped unhurt with Mr Dixon's son wriggling through bars to escape.
The total haul
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