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UK News Gang go on trial for 33m Heathow gold heist
Monday, 20th June 2005, 15:28 Category: Crime and Punishment LIFE STYLE EXTRA (UK) - A gang of armed robbers tried to steal more than 33 million worth of gold, cash and diamonds from Heathrow Airport in one of the most audacious heists ever, a court heard today.
The raiders had an 'inside man' working at the cargo warehouse who phoned them as 15 million of gold bullion was being unloaded ready for the strong room, it was said.
Prosecutor John Kelsey-Fry, QC, told Kingston Crown Court: "He told them 'All is well, the goods are vulnerable, go ahead, attack' or whatever his words might be."
Right on queue, shortly before 10am on May 17 last year eight masked robbers smashed there way into the Swissport cargo warehouse in a van, terrorised the staff and began plundering the gold.
But armed police were lying in wait and swooped on the gang, six of whom were arrested on the spot, Mr Kelsey-Fry said.
A seventh gang member was arrested after a high speed chase, but an eighth managed to escape and has never been caught.
Two men who masterminded the raid, a 38 year old from Stanwell and a 29 year old from Slough, are standing trial today with two others including a 38 year old from Stanwell accused of being the 'inside man' and a 36 year old also from Stanwell. All are accused of conspiracy to rob.
They are not accused of being in the warehouse, but of plotting the raid with the seven named robbers and others.
Mr Kelsey-Fry said: "Each of them was party to the plotting and planning and the facilitating of this robbery. This robbery needed and clearly had the benefit of an inside man, someone who worked at Swissport who could provide them with the necessary information.
"Each played a role in bringing the robbery about."
He said there was a "chain of communication" between the 29 year old and the people who actually took part in the robbery.
Mr Kelsey-Fry said that morning more than 18 million of foreign currency held in black bags and diamonds had been unloaded from a KLM flight.
More than 15 million worth of Peruvian gold then arrived on a KLM flight KL1007. The gold was "at its most vulnerable" because it had been removed from its containers and shrink wrapping.
Mr Kelsey-Fry said: "The gold was waiting to go to the strong room when, at 9.57am, a white mercedes Sprinter van crashed through the shuttered gates to the warehouse in reverse.
"Eight masked men, mostly dressed in black, jumped out armed with hocky sticks, batons, crow bars and the like and set about threatening the warehouse staff and robbng them of that gold.
The robbers shouted 'We are the black bags?' Mr kelsey-Fry said: "Clearly the robbers wer well informed - they knew where to hit, they knew when to hit and they knew what they were looking for."
He added: "Unfortunately for these robbers the police were ahead of the game and a large number of police officers were on hand. they stormed thewarehouse shortly afterwards to arrest the robbers."
The court heard that the seven who were caught have all pleaded guilty at earlier hearings to conspiracy to rob.
They are John Davis, 21, Of Datchet, James Fox, 31, of Ascot, Chris Smith, 289, of Eton Wick, Alan Larmont 31, of Langley, Steven Nolan, 24, of Wraysbury, all in Berkshire, Derek Sheehan, 34, of Hammersmith, West London, and Anthony Charles, 35, of Shepherds Bush west London.
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