Two security guards face lengthy jail terms for stealing £7million from their own cash-in-transit van in one of the biggest ‘inside job’ heists in British history.
Driver Mohammad Siddique and guard Ranjeev Singh – who worked for security firm Loomis – staged the fake raid near Heathrow Airport in a plot described in court as worthy of a Hollywood movie.
The pair made it look as if the van had been hijacked and driven away while Singh was in a toilet. He got out of the truck to use the loo shortly after it left the depot and said the van and Siddique had disappeared when he reemerged.
Siddique was found a few hours later in a ditch with his hands tied behind his back and his feet bound with cable ties. The money was gone and has never been recovered.
Security guards Mohammed Siddique (left) and Ranjeev Singh (right) have been convicted over a £7million ‘inside job’ cash-in-transit heist
A police reconstruction shows just how much space the £7million would have taken up
But investigators found that, instead of raising the alarm immediately, Singh had actually waited in the toilet cubicle for 20 minutes, and then nonchalantly smoked a cigarette, before telling colleagues in another van that the truck was missing.
The delay meant that the firm’s control centre could not thwart the raid by immobilising the vehicle.
In the meantime, 28 bags of cash had been transferred from the Loomis security van into a second vehicle parked in a quiet, secluded suburban road in Feltham.
When questioned at the scene, Siddique told police officers that he had been contacted weeks before the ‘robbery’ by an unknown man at his home.
He said this man had threatened to burn his home down and forced him to take part in the plan, ultimately leaving him tied up as he was found.
But prosecutors presented mobile phone data to show that Siddique had in fact been in contact with his co-conspirators on the day and was directly involved in the heist.
The van (pictured circled) was found abandoned. The ‘inside job’ driver was tied up nearby
The pair took 19 bags of cash totalling £7million from the back of the security van (file photo)
It also emerged that Singh had a second phone all along, stored in his jacket pocket, which he used to speak to Siddique while he was in the toilet.
Siddique and Singh were today convicted of conspiracy to steal after a two week trial at Kingston Crown Court.
Prosecutor Sandip Patel QC said of the crime: ‘It was an audacious theft carefully planned and executed. You may think it has the makings of a Hollywood movie script, if it was it would probably be called “The Heathrow Heist”, if anyone wanted to write a script about it.
‘This heist was one of the biggest in British criminal history, there have been bigger but £7million is a significant amount. It was also an inside job.’
Ringleader Rafaqat Hussain, 41, who made sure the job ran smoothly and helped launder the money, admitted involvement before the trial began.
Hussain’s wife Razvana Zeib, 34, also admitted charges including conspiracy to commit burglary and money launder.
The gang now face jail sentences, along with Garry Carrod, 34, who also admitted conspiracy to commit burglary, on 18 October.
The cash, weighing 408kg, had been flown into Heathrow by Swiss bank Credit Suisse the day before which was bound for the Bank of Ireland.
Britain’s biggest heists
Britain’s biggest cash robbery was the notorious Securitas depot heist in Tonbridge, Kent, in February 2006, when raiders stole more than £53 million (CCTV pictured below) .
In 2009, men in suits stole £40million worth of jewellery during a raid at London’s New Bond Street’s Graff jewellers.
The UK’s third biggest robbery was when an armed gang stole up to £40million from Knightsbridge Safe Deposit Centre in 1987.
In 2004, £26.4 million was seized from the Northern Bank HQ in Belfast.
The fifth biggest heist was the Brink’s-Mat robbery, also at Heathow, in 1983. A gang stole three tones of gold bullion worth around £26million.
One of that gang, Brian Reader, went on to take part in the Hatton Garden heist of 2015, in which more than £25million of loot was taken.
The security guards said to be ‘firm friends’ requested to work together on March 14 after Siddique falsely claimed his car had broken down, jurors heard.
Shortly after collecting the money from the depot Singh got out the van to go to the toilet while Siddique drove off to Feltham where he had left a van bought weeks earlier for the raid, jurors were told.
CCTV showed Singh ‘ambling’ out the toilet and walking around smoking a cigarette at 8.46am before raising the alarm just before 9am.
While he was in the toilet, Siddique phoned Singh as he was allegedly loading the cash.
Singh, who claimed to not have a phone on him, was later found to have a ‘burner’ handset in his jacket.
He discarded the SIM card from the phone at the police station where he was taken to be interviewed initially as a witness.
But the SIM card was later discovered, identifying other members of the gang.
Detective Chief Inspector Mark Bedford, of the Met’s Flying Squad, said after the convictions: ‘Although this was an organised theft involving months of planning, it would not have been possible without the calculating and devious actions of Singh and Siddique who abused their positions to subvert the secure processes put in place to prevent this type of offence.
‘The pair attempted to present themselves as victims of a robbery even going so far as arranging for Siddique to be tied up and left by a motorway to be found by innocent members of the public.
‘However, a swift and thorough investigation by the Flying Squad uncovered their lies, led to their accomplices being identified and ensured their successful conviction at court.
‘Both men are now likely to receive substantial custodial sentences reflecting their calculated abuse of their employer’s trust and the value of the monies stolen.’
Prosecutor Helen Shaw added: ‘Ranjeev Singh, Mohammad Siddique and Rafaqat Hussain staged this theft to steal £7m which has still not been recovered, crafting a plan to make it appear that they were victims.
‘Their elaborate plot quickly unravelled when inconsistencies in their story became apparent.
‘The prosecution used interrogation of mobile phone records and CCTV evidence to highlight the lies they told police, leading to today’s convictions.’