The Master, Billy the Fish and Crew: Now we know who pulled off Hatton Garden raid

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Three men have been found guilty of being involved in the £14 milllion Hatton Garden raid - believed the biggest burglary in British history.

The gang of thieves carried out the “sophisticated” and meticulously planned break-in over the Easter weekend last year.

A Forensic for Dummies book, recovered from various addresses after the Hatton Garden Safe Deposit Company raid.

A Forensic for Dummies book, recovered from various addresses after the Hatton Garden Safe Deposit Company raid.

They ransacked 73 boxes at Hatton Garden Safety Deposit Ltd after using a drill to bore a hole into the vault wall.

Valuables worth up to £14 million, including gold, diamonds and sapphires, were taken.

Two thirds of them remain unrecovered.

Carl Wood, 58, of Elderbeck Close, Cheshunt, Hertfordshire; and William Lincoln, 60, of Winkley Street, Bethnal Green, east London, were convicted of conspiracy to commit burglary and conspiracy to conceal, convert or transfer criminal property.

The tunnel leading into the vault at the Hatton Garden Safe Deposit company

The tunnel leading into the vault at the Hatton Garden Safe Deposit company

Jon Harbinson, 42, of Beresford Gardens, Benfleet, Essex, was cleared of the two offences.

Plumber Hugh Doyle, 48, of Riverside Gardens, Enfield, north London, was found guilty of concealing, converting or transferring criminal property between January 1 and May 19 this year.

None of the men showed any reaction as they were convicted.

Another thief, known only as “Basil”, let his co-conspirators into the building by opening the fire escape from inside. He has not been identified.

Carl Wood, William Lincoln and Hugh Doyle

Carl Wood, William Lincoln and Hugh Doyle

All of the men are due to be sentenced by Judge Christopher Kinch QC on March 7.

Ringleaders John “Kenny” Collins, 75, Daniel Jones, 60, Terry Perkins, 67, and the group’s oldest member Brian Reader, 76, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit burglary last September.

It can now also be reported that Perkins’s daughter Terri Robinson, 35, of Sterling Road, Enfield, faces being jailed alongside him after she pleaded guilty to concealing, converting or transferring criminal property.

Her brother-in-law Brenn Walters, 43, who is also known as Ben Perkins, also admitted the same offence.

The Old Wheatsheaf pub, in Enfield, London where the exchange of loot taken from Hatton Garden robbery took place.

The Old Wheatsheaf pub, in Enfield, London where the exchange of loot taken from Hatton Garden robbery took place.

The group of thieves who broke into the vault included participants of some of the most notorious heists of the last century - Reader had been involved in the £26 million gold bullion Brinks Mat robbery, and Perkins was a player in the £6 million Security Express raid.

But despite their experience in acquisitive crime, it took the bungling “Bad Grandpas” two nights to breach the vault, and they were caught after covert recording devices planted in their cars captured them boasting of their endeavours.

Jones bragged about the raid in one recording, saying: “The biggest cash robbery in history at the time and now the biggest Tom in the f****** world, that’s what they are saying ... and what a book you could write, f****** hell’.”

Perkins was caught saying the gold from the raid was going to be his pension.

“I’m going to melt my good gold down. The Indian, the 18, that could be my pension if I could get half an idea of what’s there, you know what I mean,” he said.

Prosecutor Philip Evans told the jury “a very substantial quantity of gold, jewellery, precious stones, cash and other items were stolen from the vault in the basement of a building at 88-90 Hatton Garden”.

The Castle pub, in Islington, London where a lot of the planning for the Hatton Garden robbery was done.

The Castle pub, in Islington, London where a lot of the planning for the Hatton Garden robbery was done.

Referring to the men who pleaded guilty, he said: “These four ringleaders and organisers of this conspiracy, although senior in years, brought with them a great deal of experience in planning and executing sophisticated and serious acquisitive crime not dissimilar to this.

“This offence was to be the largest burglary in English legal history.”

After the men were arrested, police raided their homes and discovered a number of stolen goods, including gold, and precious gems. A book called Forensics For Dummies was found at Jones’s house. There was no forensic trace left at the vault.

Searches of Reader’s home revealed a book on the diamond underworld, a diamond tester, a diamond gauge, diamond magazines, and a distinctive scarf seen on CCTV at Hatton Garden on the night of April 2.

Although present on the first night of the burglary, he did not return for the second.

Saying that only one third of the estimated £14 million had been recovered, Mr Evans added: “This leaves, somewhere in the world, a great deal of criminal property from Hatton Garden, which has been concealed, converted or transferred.”

The men would often meet a short distance from London’s diamond district, making plans at The Castle pub on Pentonville Road in Islington, and Scotti’s, a nearby cafe.

Some also took part in reconnaissance.

Reader - recognisable by his striped socks and brown shoes - Jones, Perkins, Collins, allegedly Wood, and the man known as “Basil” entered Hatton Garden Safe Deposit at around 9.20pm on April 2.

CCTV footage shows them arriving in a white van and unloading tools, bags, metal joists and wheelie bins.

The men used walkie-talkies to communicate and their mobile phones were in “radio silence”.

However, after they were unable to gain access to the vault on the first night, the gang returned on April 4.

Once inside, the men used the lift shaft to access the basement, disabled the alarm and drilled into the vault wall using a drill they had taken with them.

They were eventually seen emerging from the building with holdalls and wheelie bins laden with stolen goods.

The gang stashed the jewellery, gold and cash behind skirting boards, at various houses and Jones even buried several bags of jewellery under memorial stones at a cemetery.

On May 19 Collins, Perkins and Jones met at the Old Wheatsheaf pub in Enfield - next to Doyle’s workshop - where the goods were transferred into Collins’s car.

From here it was to be amassed in one place, Perkins’s daughter Terri Robinson’s address, in Sterling Road, Enfield.

However, soon after they arrived at the property with the bags of jewellery, police swooped on them.

Detectives also dug up two bags of jewellery stashed under the memorial stone of the grandfather of Jones’s children, in Edmonton Cemetery.

When Jones took officers to the same graveyard at a later date he showed them to a different plot where they unearthed a smaller bag of stolen gold and jewels, but he did not tell them about the bigger stash.

Collins, of Bletsoe Walk, Islington; Jones, of Park Avenue, Enfield; Perkins, of Heene Road, Enfield, and Reader, of Dartford Road, Dartford, have been in custody since their arrests.

Paul Keleher, defending Doyle, said that his client would be appealing against the conviction.

The Met’s Flying Squad detectives have also renewed their appeal for information about mystery raider “Basil” and offered a £20,000 reward.

Basil was instrumental in the gang gaining access to the vault at Hatton Garden Safe Deposit.

The red-haired character is seen on CCTV, obscuring his face from the camera, walking through Hatton Garden on both nights of the raid.

Thought to be the alarm and key man, he let the thieves into the building and clambered through the hole that had been drilled in the concrete and into the vault.

Detective Superintendent Craig Turner said: “The investigation will be still ongoing. We will seek to identify the individual known as Basil. I refresh our appeal and offer a £20,000 reward.

“We don’t know anything about Basil, that is why we are putting out the appeal.”

Speaking at a press briefing, Chief Detective Superintendent Tom Manson said the age of the men convicted - a combined age of 444 - did not take away from their “dangerous crime” history.

Reiterating this, and referring to Jones, Perkins, Reader and Collins, Detective Superintendent Craig Turner said: “They were career criminals. They were very, very callous in what they did and they had a long history of criminal behaviour.”

Officers also revealed that they believed each of those involved had taken a share of the stolen property for themselves.

Although around £3.7 million of the loot has been restored, £10 million worth remains unrecovered.

The raid saw 73 safety deposit boxes broken into, of which 44 were actively used by 40 victims. While 39 of the box owners have been identified, one is yet to come forward.

“They haven’t come forward and we don’t know why not,” said Mr Turner.

After facing criticism for the way the incident was handled, the Met Police apologised for not following procedures when receiving a call from a security firm about an intruder alert at the premises at midnight on Good Friday.

At the time, Flying Squad detectives rejected the suggestion that they were bungling “Keystone Cops”.

Speaking today, Mr Turner added: “We apologise for not actually attending the alarm. It is quite clear that police should have attended.

“We have reviewed all our systems and processes.

“The key holder did turn up, they would have seen exactly what the police would have seen.”

The court heard that after the alarm was activated on Good Friday last year, one of the Hatton Garden Safe Deposit security guards attended the scene but after looking through the door and seeing nothing untoward, called the building owner to say it was a false alarm.

Whodunnit: These are the men involved in the Hatton Garden raid:

• Brian Reader, aged 76 - pleaded guilty

Nicknames: The Master, The Governor

The oldest of the Hatton Garden raiders, and an experienced criminal, he was referred to as the “Master” or “Governor” by his conspirators.

Reader was involved in the planning of the burglary and was present at the meetings before and after the event.

Although Reader was at the vault on the first night of the raid, he did not return for the second.

(Freedom Pass) Oyster Card records show that on the evening of April 2, he boarded the 96 bus from near his home in Dartford, before exiting Waterloo East station. From there he caught the 55 bus to St John Street - about a five-minute walk from Hatton Garden.

Reader did not appear to have owned a mobile phone and may have used his son Paul Reader’s mobile to contact others involved in the conspiracy.

When his home address in Dartford Road, Dartford, was searched, detectives seized a book on the diamond underworld, a diamond tester, a diamond gauge, diamond magazines and a distinctive scarf which he can be seen wearing on CCTV at Hatton Garden on April 2/3.

He used an Oyster Card Freedom Pass belonging to someone else to get to Hatton Garden on the night of the raid.

Reader was involved in the 1983 Brinks Mat gold heist, and also has connections with one of Britain’s most notorious criminals, Kenneth Noye.

On November 26 1983 a gang of masked robbers carried out Britain’s largest ever robbery at London’s Heathrow Airport, taking gold bullion worth £26 million.

Six armed robbers posing as security guards raided the high-security facility after dousing a security guard with petrol and threatening to set him alight unless he opened the vault.

They escaped with 6,800 ingots weighing three tons as well as an assortment of travellers’ cheques and diamonds in what was dubbed the crime of the century.

Some of the gains ended up in Noye’s hands, and he was jailed for 14 years for his crime.

To this day, much of the stolen bullion remains unrecovered.

After escaping from Heathrow with their haul, the robbers needed help to turn the gold into clean cash, and one of the people they turned to was Noye.

He was an expert in his field, and paid such attention to detail that he even mixed some of the gold with copper coins to change its purity and disguise its origins.

Reader was jailed for eight years for conspiracy to handle stolen goods after the raid.

He was also sentenced to a further year’s imprisonment for dishonestly handling £66,000 in cash.

• John Kenneth Collins, aged 75 - pleaded guilty

Nicknames: Kenny

Collins was one of the ringleaders instrumental in the planning of the raid.

In the months leading up to the raid, he visited Hatton Garden several times for reconnaissance. He was also responsible for driving the van to and from the scene.

During the raid itself Collins acted as lookout, keeping watch on 88-90 Hatton Garden from across the road, ready to raise the alarm with a walkie-talkie.

But in a covertly recorded conversation, Jones claims that Collins fell asleep on the job.

Collins - who lives with William Lincoln’s sister - recruited Hugh Doyle, having been friends with him for more than a decade.

Collins drove a white Mercedes that was caught on CCTV driving bags of loot away from the scene of the exchange at the Old Wheatsheaf pub on May 19. It was also one of the two cars bugged by detectives.

Police searches of Collins’s home in Bletsoe Walk, Islington, recovered a large amount of cash, wrist watches, coins, jewellery and a money counter.

Collins has a Staffordshire bull terrier called Dempsey.

He also has six previous convictions for thefts and other similar offences, dating back to 1961. In total he was sentenced to 13 years and six months’ imprisonment for them.

• Terrence Perkins, aged 67 - pleaded guilty

Nicknames: Terry, Tel

Perkins celebrated his birthday during the raid and was involved in all stages of the operation, including disposing of the stolen goods.

He drove a blue Citroen Saxo that police placed recording devices in after the raid.

He was inside the Hatton Garden building posing as a builder and “working” inside the lift on March 31.

Diabetic Perkins claimed to have taken enough insulin to last him three days in the vault.

When his address in Heene Road, Enfield, was searched, police found jewellery, cash, blue overalls, five pairs of white fabric gloves and a quantity of euros.

After the raid, it was decided that on May 19 the loot would be taken back to an address linked to Perkins in Sterling Road, Enfield, and then divvied up.

Perkins has a long history of criminal activity and was jailed for 22 years for robbing the vaults of Securicor, also known as Security Express, on April 4 1983.

After serving part of his sentence, Perkins was given temporary release from prison but failed to return after this expired. He was convicted in relation to this in July 2011 and sentenced to four weeks’ imprisonment. He was eventually released from prison on February 7 2012.

On Easter Monday 1983 a gang broke into the Security Express depot in Shoreditch, east London, and escaped with £6 million.

The robbery was masterminded by John Knight, the brother of Ronnie Knight, the former husband of actress Dame Barbara Windsor.

• Daniel Jones, aged 60 - pleaded guilty

Nicknames: Danny

Jones was another of the ringleaders and was at the heart of the planning, regularly meeting with the others - particularly Perkins and Collins - before and after the Easter weekend.

As part of the planning, Jones was allegedly in frequent contact with Carl Wood, updating him on the plan. The two had been friends for decades and would often go on walks during which they would discuss “guy things”.

Jones was at the burglary throughout and was instrumental in gaining access to the vault. After the first-night failure, Jones and Collins drove to Twickenham to get more equipment.

He was caught on CCTV wearing an eccentric outfit during the raid, complete with striped trousers, a hi-vis waistcoat, red trainers and a navy baseball cap.

He, along with mystery man “Basil”, actually climbed through the hole that had been bored into the vault door.

Police found a box of dust masks, the book Forensics For Dummies, a drill, balaclavas and a walkie-talkie at his house.

Jones later confessed to police that he had hidden his share of loot in an Edmonton cemetery, and led them to the smaller of two stashes he had secreted at the site. Unbeknown to him, detectives had already discovered his treasure and knew he was not being honest with them.

Giving evidence at trial, Wood described Jones as “eccentric to extremes” and said he would sleep in his mother’s sleeping bag and a fez.

Wood also said that his friend was obsessed with his terrier, Rocket, and would speak to it as if it were human.

Jones, of Park Avenue, Enfield, was described as having a keen interest in crime and the Army, and Wood said he would often sleep in a sleeping bag on the floor and relieve himself in a bottle.

The police would also discover in due course that he had hidden jewellery in a cemetery in Edmonton.

Analysis of Jones’s computer revealed that in 2010 he had been researching core drilling equipment.

It also found that he had been researching drills since 2012, and in May 2014 he searched for the Hilti DD 350 drill, the same one used in the raid. He also visited sites such as drillsonline and In 2012, Jones also researched the price of gold and diamonds.

He has nine previous convictions for similar offences - robberies, thefts and burglaries - dating back to 1975 and has been sentenced to a total of 23 years’ imprisonment for them.

• Carl Wood, 58 - convicted

Nicknames: Carl

The prosecution alleged that Wood was the man identified as Male F in CCTV footage of the raid.

The character in the footage was present on both sides of the raid, but walked away on the second - before access was gained to the vault - after discovering the fire escape was locked.

Wood, a married father of two adult daughters, had known Jones for 30 years, and they first became friends over their mutual interest in keeping fit.

However, after he was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, aged 24, he had to cut back on his activities, and instead he would go on walks with “caring, sensitive” Jones.

Jurors heard that at the time of the raid Wood - who was on disability pension - was riddled with personal debt.

However, he claimed that at the time of the burglary he was at a family barbecue, and that he had spent the other night at home in Cheshunt, Herts, with his wife Paula.

It took Mrs Wood six months to go to the authorities with her alibi.

• William Lincoln, aged 60 - convicted

Nicknames: Billy, Billy the Fish

Lincoln is alleged to have controlled the stolen goods and arranged for them to be taken to Jones and Collins.

After the exchange he was stopped in the black Audi A3 he was driving, arrested and taken to a police station, where he wet himself in custody.

Jurors heard that while Lincoln was being stopped, he could be seen leaning over the front seat of his. A subsequent search discovered a piece of paper that contained the address for the Old Wheatsheaf pub.

During his evidence, Lincoln conceded that he was “not the sharpest knife in the drawer” but also said he was not a “divvo”.

Lincoln suffers from sleep apnoea, bladder issues and severe osteoarthritis which has seen him have a double hip replacement. As a result of his ailments, he is unable to work and is in receipt of disability living allowance and employment support allowance.

Lincoln, of Winkley Street, Bethnal Green, east London, earned the name “Billy the Fish” because he supplied his family and friends with seafood he bought from Billingsgate market.

When asked what he had been doing in the early hours of Good Friday last year, he said he had been visiting the market - as he did every Friday. Among the fish he regularly bought and took to his family were eels for his mother, who lives in Essex. But depending on what his friends and family would ask him for, he would also buy dover sole, cod, haddock or skate.

• Hugh Doyle, aged 48 - stood trial

Nicknames: Hughie

Doyle, who has a close relationship with Collins, is said to have allowed the gang to transfer the stolen goods from one car to another in the car park next to his plumber’s business - Associated Response.

The Irish father of two only stood trial over the laundering offence, and was not tried for conspiracy to commit burglary.

Doyle, of Riverside Gardens, Enfield, was the only defendant on bail and would happily talk to the press and officers throughout the case. He wore his work uniform to court everyday, and would sit in the dock taking notes.

Jurors heard that he had known Collins, Perkins and Reader for a number of years, and would often go drinking with them in pubs near Hatton Garden.

• Mystery man “Basil” - still at large

A man who is yet to be identified, known only as Basil, unlocked the doors to Hatton Garden Safe Deposit and let the raiders into the building.

The red-haired bandit can be seen on the CCTV footage - obscuring his face from cameras with a black bag - on both nights of the raid.

The defence argued that Basil must have been somebody who had detailed knowledge of the building and where the surveillance cameras were located.


A male at the fire escape corridor, shown as evidence to jurors

A male at the fire escape corridor, shown as evidence to jurors

14 white and yellow rings, recovered from various addresses after the Hatton Garden Safe Deposit Company raid.

14 white and yellow rings, recovered from various addresses after the Hatton Garden Safe Deposit Company raid.

A blue plastic bag containing wrist watches, recovered from various addresses after the Hatton Garden Safe Deposit Company raid.

A blue plastic bag containing wrist watches, recovered from various addresses after the Hatton Garden Safe Deposit Company raid.

CCTV footage of a male at a fire escape corridor with tools

CCTV footage of a male at a fire escape corridor with tools

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