Five guilty of £53m security raid
FIVE men were found guilty today of a series of charges in connection with Britain's biggest cash robbery.They were convicted by an Old Bailey jury over the £53 million heist at the Securitas depot in Tonbridge, Kent, in February 2006.
FIVE men were found guilty today of a series of charges in connection with Britain's biggest cash robbery.
They were convicted by an Old Bailey jury over the £53 million heist at the Securitas depot in Tonbridge, Kent, in February 2006.
The robbery gang kidnapped Securitas manager Colin Dixon, his wife Lynn, and their young child at gunpoint to gain entry to the building.
CCTV seen in court showed them trussing up 14 employees with cable ties as they loaded cash into a 7.5-ton Renault lorry during the 66-minute early morning raid.
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The hostages were warned: "You will die if you do not do as you are told."
Lynn Dixon feared she and her child would be murdered as a gun was aimed at the back of their heads.
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As the robbers prepared to flee, the Dixons and the rest of the hostages were locked in empty cash cages. The young child was the first to wriggle free.
The gang convicted today were: Lea Rusha, 35, a former roofer of Lambersart Close, Southborough, Tunbridge Wells, Kent; car salesman Stuart Royle, 49, of Allen Street, Maidstone, Kent; unemployed Jetmir Bucpapa, 26, of Hadlow Road, Tonbridge; garage owner Roger Coutts, 30, of The Green, Welling, south east London; and Emir Hysenaj, 28, a Post Office worker, of New Road, Crowborough, East Sussex.
Car dealer John Fowler, 59, of Elderden Farm, Chart Hill Road, Staplehurst, Kent, was cleared of all charges.
The jury was still considering its verdict in the case of a seventh man, signwriter Keith Borer, 54, of Hempstead Lane, Maidstone, Kent, who is charged with handling stolen money.
The gang got away with what was described as a “king's ransom” in cash but left behind £153 million because they could not fit any more into their lorry.
Sir John Nutting QC, prosecuting, told jurors that the robbers were inspired by the lure of “luxury, ease and idleness” and were prepared to target the “"innocent and vulnerable” to achieve it.
After the robbery, police recovered £21 million of the stolen money at sites in Kent and south east London, with much of the rest thought to have been spirited away to Morocco and northern Cyprus, some of it turned into assets.
The gang were provided with sophisticated prosthetic disguises, normally used in the world of theatre and cinema, by hairdresser Michelle Hogg.
Hogg was initially in the dock alongside those who planned and carried out the robbery but agreed to become the star prosecution witness when all charges against her were dropped.
She is now in the witness protection scheme and says she is living in fear.
The total cost of the investigation and trial is estimated at £16 million.