13 years for bungling raider who rammed wrong wall

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A BUNGLING robber who botched a multi-million pound raid on a cash depot when he knocked down the wrong wall with a digger has been jailed.

Ex-Millennium Dome robber Raymond Betson, 52, and other mystery raiders targeted the Loomis depot in Swanley, Kent, on March 23, 2012.

A stolen digger was driven into the outside wall of the depot just before 5am to knock it over and allow the crooks inside. But the attempted raid turned to farce because, after ramming the wall repeatedly, one of the robbers climbed over the rubble to find an empty room.

And when the gang entered a nearby warehouse, that was empty too – and they ended up fleeing empty-handed.

Inside an abandoned Mitsubishi 4x4 in a field police found a two-way radio, a baseball bat and large white bags.

In a nearby bush was a balaclava, a snood and a running stopwatch.

DNA from the snood and the balaclava provided a one in a billion match to Betson who was previously convicted for his part in the Millennium Dome raid in November 2000.

Betson, of Folkestone, was found guilty of attempted robbery at Maidstone Crown Court last month and was jailed for 13 years yesterday.

Detective Inspector Rob Haines, of the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate, said afterwards: “Betson wanted to make a lot of money quickly and was significantly involved in this botched robbery.

“The attempt displayed a level of violence, planning and organisation with the use of a digger, weapons, such as baseball bats, and a getaway vehicle.

“But what went from an armed robbery quickly turned into a farce because they knocked down the wrong wall, then searched an empty warehouse and managed to render the getaway vehicle useless as they fled the scene, discarding equipment nearby.”

Mr Haines said police were still trying to trace Betson’s accomplices, including Karl Delaney, 37, formerly from Sheerness. Police believe he has fled to Ireland, and officers have urged anyone with information about his whereabouts to come forward.