20 May 2015

Arrests in jewellery heist investigation

9:57 am on 20 May 2015

Detectives hunting the gang behind the multimillion dollar Hatton Garden jewellery raid in London have arrested seven people, including two pensioners.

The contents of 56 safe deposit boxes were taken during the raid in the city's jewellery district at Easter.

Diamonds and jewellery worth an estimated £200 million were stolen.

Diamonds and jewellery worth an estimated £200 million were stolen. Photo: AFP / British Metropolitan Police

Twelve addresses in the London and Kent area were raided by about 200 police officers on Tuesday morning.

Seven men were arrested - aged between 48 and 76 - and a number of high value items were recovered, police said.

There has been no official detail of what was stolen but it is believed jewellery worth up to £200m was taken during the raid.

Thieves used heavy cutting equipment to break into a vault at Hatton Garden Safety Deposit Ltd, where they ransacked about 70 boxes.

They were believed to have broken into a lift shaft, disabled the lift, and abseiled or climbed down to basement. Tools, including an angle grinder and crowbars, were used to force through shutter doors.

Using a powerful drill, they then cut through the 0.5m reinforced concrete wall to vault. After seizing jewellery and other valuables from 72 safety deposit boxes, they escape in a waiting van.

Holes bored through a half-metre thick concrete wall drilled to access the vault.

Holes bored through a half-metre thick concrete wall drilled to access the vault. Photo: AFP / British Metropolitan Police

'High value' property recovered

The men were arrested in Enfield, east London and Dartford. Police said bags containing a significant amount of high value property were recovered at one of the addresses and they were confident some were items stolen during the burglary.

Scotland Yard has also appealed for information on a white Transit van which was seen in the area at the time of the raid.

In response to questions about why police did not respond to an alarm that went off at the premises during the time of the heist, Detective Superintendent Turner, said: "We are now in a position to confirm that on this occasion our call handling system and procedures for working with the alarm monitoring companies were not followed.

"Our normal procedures would have resulted in police attending the scene and we apologise that this did not happen."

-BBC