Securitas Depot Robbery - Britains largest
On February 21 2006 a gang kidnapped the manager of a Tonbridge cash handling depot as he drove home from work in the early evening; at roughly the same time accomplices were abducting his wife and eight-year-old son at their home in Herne Bay . After being held for several hours at a farm and the manager threatened with dire consequences for his family to make him cooperate they were driven at 1am to the cash depot and the manager ordered to gain them entry. Fourteen staff members were then bound with cable ties by the armed gangsters who proceeded to load about £53 million in used banknotes into a white Renault lorry. Shortly before 3am the gang left, with the staff locked in cash cages to delay the raising of the alarm.
Not surprisingly huge police efforts were directed at catching the criminals; Securitas, the depot owner, offered a reward of £2 million in relation to the crime. Very shortly afterwards large sums of cash were recovered in several locations; vehicles involved in the robbery were found by the police, typically having been left at a pub or a hotel somewhere in Kent.
Subsequent investigations revealed the care which had gone into the robbery: a make-up artist (who became a key prosecution witness) made elaborate disguises for four of those involved; cars had been altered to make them appear to be unmarked police vehicles; there was careful coordination of the kidnapping of the depot manager and his family; there were supposed links to Northern Cyprus for the laundering of the proceeds; one of the gang members had obtained a job working in the depot.
Eventually five people were convicted of the robbery in 2008 and given lengthy sentences – four of them received life sentences, the fifth a 20 year stretch. But only about £21 million has so far been recovered by the authorities, leaving £32 million in the hands of gang members still at large, or their accomplices. And the suspected mastermind of the robbery, inevitably dubbed Mr X by the police, has not been detained – he is thought to have fled the country.
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