Millions of pounds worth of valuables stolen in the Hatton Garden raid can finally be returned to the owners more than two-and-a-half years after the biggest burglary in British history.
An estimated £25 million worth of jewellery, gems and cash was taken during the Easter 2015 raid, with approximately two thirds of it remaining unrecovered.
But the prosecution and all defendants have now said the items recovered can be returned to their owners, having agreed ‘a headline figure’ on their value.
Millions of pounds of stolen valuables taken in the Hatton Garden raid are set to be returned to the rightful owners after prosecutors and the defendants agreed a value over what was taken. Pictured is the scene of the crime with empty safe deposit boxes
(Top row, left to right) John Collins, Daniel Jones, Terry Perkins, (bottom row, left to right) Carl Wood, William Lincoln and Hugh Doyle were all convicted of a role in the crime
Prosecutor Philip Stott told Woolwich Crown Court on Thursday: ‘The important consequence is that the property that has been recovered, if that agreement is indicated, can then be returned to the victims.
‘The victims have been waiting for an extremely long time, for the return of what are not insignificant items of jewellery and other items.
‘It has been the prosecution’s anxious concern that that is returned to them as soon as possible.’
Brian Reader, pictured, was also jailed over the heist despite claiming he pulled out of the job at the last minute
Around two-thirds of the proceeds of the burglary remained unaccounted for, with just £4million of cash and goods returned to the rightful owners.
During the case, the court heard that 44 of the 73 boxes were actively used by 40 tenants at the time.
Although some of the goods were recovered, items of jewellery including gold chains and rings and many paper packages used in the jewellery trade, known as Brifkas, containing individual precious stones, are still missing.
The agreement to return the recovered items comes ahead of a January confiscation hearing, under the Proceeds of Crime Act, which will determine how each of the defendants benefited from the raid.
Ringleaders John ‘Kenny’ Collins, 77, of Islington, north London; Daniel Jones, 63, of Enfield, north London; Terry Perkins, 69, of Enfield; and the group’s oldest member Brian Reader, of Dartford, Kent, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit burglary.
Collins, Jones and Perkins were each given a seven-year prison term for their involvement in the burglary over the 2015 Easter bank holiday weekend.
William Lincoln, 60, of Bethnal Green, east London, was found guilty of the same offence and one count of conspiracy to conceal, convert or transfer criminal property.
Lincoln was also given a seven-year sentence.
The burglary is the biggest in British history and made headlines around the world in 2015. Pictured are forensic officers at the scene
The gang drilled a gigantic hole through a concrete wall from a connecting lift shaft to enter the safety deposit room
The gang ransacked 73 boxes at Hatton Garden Safe Deposit in London’s jewellery quarter after using a drill to bore a hole into the vault wall.
Last month, Carl Wood, 59, was ordered to pay back £50,500 within three months or face a default term of imprisonment of 18 months.
Wood of Cheshunt, Hertfordshire, was found guilty of conspiracy to burgle and one count of conspiracy to conceal, convert or transfer criminal property.
He was jailed for six years.
The confiscation hearing will take place on January 15 next year.
Also convicted was plumber Hugh Doyle, of Enfield, north London, who was found guilty of concealing, converting or transferring criminal property between January 1 and May 19 2015.
He was jailed for 21 months, suspended for two years.
A separate confiscation hearing for him will take place on December 20.
BRITAIN’S BIGGEST HEISTS: HOW HATTON GARDEN RANKS
1. The Securitas depot robbery: £53.1m (2006)
Fake police officers kidnapped Colin Dixon, manager of the Securitas depot in Tonbridge, Kent, in February 2006, as well as his wife and eight-year-old son.
The three were taken at gunpoint to the depot, which handled money for the Bank of England, and tied up next to 14 members of staff, while the criminal gang left with £53million.
2. Graff Jewellers robbery: £40m (2009)
Two armed robbers raided Graff’s New Bond Street shop in London, taking 43 items worth around £40million.
3. Knightsbridge Safe Deposit Centre robbery: £40m (1987)
A gang of armed criminals forced their way into the vault of the London safety deposit centre and took £40million in property.
They were led by Valerio Viccei, the son of an Italian lawyer who fled the country but was arrested when he returned to Britain while shipping his Ferrari to South America.
4. Northern Bank robbery: £26.4m (2004)
Armed robbers disguised as police officers broke into two homes of Northern Bank staff in Belfast, Northern Ireland, and took their families hostage while the workers were forced to go the bank’s headquarters the following day to allow the gang entry. The criminals made off with £26.4million.
5. Brink’s-Mat robbery: £26m (1983)
Helped by a Heathrow Airport security guard, a group of robbers were able to break into a warehouse at the site and steal three tonnes of gold bullion worth £26milllion. Hatton Garden crook Brian Reader was subsequently convicted in connection to the theft.
6. Hatton Garden heist: – £25m (2015)
The biggest burglary in British history saw a gang drill through a concrete wall through a lift shaft
Britain’s biggest burglary. Seven men were found guilty in connection with the theft from safe deposit boxes at the heart of London’s jewellery district, having stolen goods over the Easter bank holiday weekend. They broke in via an adjacent lift shaft, drilled through a thick concrete wall and broke into 73 security boxes without leaving a forensic trace. One man, known only as Basil, has never been caught.
7. Graff Jewellers: £23m (2003)
A previous raid on the New Bond Street shop saw a Serbian gang armed with revolvers steal 47 items of jewellery including a £500,000 diamond ring, later found hidden in a tub of face cream.
8. Midland Bank Clearing Centre: £6.6m (1995)
Securicor cash delivery van driver Graham Huckerby was held up by a gang in Salford, Manchester, and forced to let them into the bank clearing centre, before they fled with £6.6million.
9. Security Express robbery: – £6m (1983)
A gang broke into Security Express depot in Shoreditch, east London, making off with around £6million. They included Hatton Garden burglar Terry Perkins.
10. Great Train Robbery – £2.6m (1963)
One of the most infamous incidents in British legal history, armed robbers led by Ronnie Biggs stole £2.6million from a Glasgow-to-London Royal Mail train in 1963, worth around £40million today.
The gang used a fake signal to stop the train and fatally injured driver Jack Mills after hitting him around the head.