Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Raiders Staked All for Pounds 33m, and Lost

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Raiders Staked All for Pounds 33m, and Lost

Article excerpt

Byline: By John Bingham

A gang who tried to steal tens of millions in diamonds and bullion in what would have been one of Britain's biggest robberies were jailed yesterday.

They had smashed a van through the shutters of a Heathrow Airport warehouse to plunder gold bars, diamonds and foreign currency.

Their haul could have been worth pounds 33m ( but detectives were sitting in wait to pick them up near the Swissport cargo warehouse on May 17 last year.

They arrested six men in a "classic intelligence-led operation" and later tracked down two brothers who had tried to flee.

Jailing the eight at Kingston Crown Court, Judge Edward Southwell said they had been playing for "high stakes" and were motivated purely by greed.

The men had used stolen vehicles which had their registration plates swapped with those of identical models.

They used "dirty phones" ( mobile phones with no registered user ( and gathered information from an inside man at the warehouse.

They had carried out a dry run, driving a van into the compound exactly as they would do almost two weeks later.

On the day they struck workers at the warehouse had just unloaded a consignment of Peruvian gold bars from a KLM flight.

A white van smashed through the shutters of the loading bay where the gold was sitting and the eight men leapt out, all dressed in black and some wielding hockey sticks and a baton.

But the police had been lying in wait and they rounded up six of the men at the scene and arrested the two brothers later.

Martin Nolan, 30, of Horton near Heathrow, was one of the organisers of the plot and was arrested last July in the East Midlands.

He was sent down for 13 years for his part in the plot.

His younger brother Steven, 24, of Wraysbury, near Heathrow, commandeered a nearby lorry, taking its driver on a spine-chilling ride along the surrounding roads, the M25 and a country lane. …

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