Big­gest heist in UK crim­i­nal his­tory

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THE al­leged theft of £7m in cash from an ar­mour-plated van which had come from Heathrow Air­port rep­re­sents one of the big­gest raids in Bri­tish crim­i­nal his­tory, a court has heard.

The van con­tained nearly half-a-tonne of ban­knotes picked up from the cargo de­pot at Heathrow Ter­mi­nal 4 on be­half of Credit Suisse bank, Kingston Crown Court was told.

Loomis In­ter­na­tional driver Mo­ham­mad Sid­dique, 31, and guard Ran­jeev Singh, 40, are ac­cused of stag­ing the ‘au­da­cious in­side job, dubbed The Heathrow Heist, on March 14 this year.

Singh al­legedly left the van to go to the toi­let and, af­ter get­ting the all clear from Sid­dique, he smoked a cig­a­rette and waited a fur­ther 15 min­utes be­fore rais­ing the alarm, jurors heard.

In that time, Sid­dique drove the truck to a quiet semi-de­tached sub­ur­ban street in Feltham and loaded the cash into an­other van.

Sid­dique was found hours later in a ditch with his hands tied be­hind his back and his feet tied to­gether – and po­lice have never traced the money.

Pros­e­cu­tor Sandip Pa­tel QC said: “It was an au­da­cious theft, care­fully planned and ex­e­cuted.

“You may think it has the mak­ings of a Hol­ly­wood movie script, if it was it would prob­a­bly be called ‘The Heathrow Heist’, if any­one wanted to write a script about it.

“This heist was one of the big­gest in Bri­tish crim­i­nal his­tory, there have been big­ger but £7m is a sig­nif­i­cant amount.

“It was also an in­side job, the pros­e­cu­tion say it had to be an in­side job by these two de­fen­dants.

“The pros­e­cu­tion say they acted out their parts ac­cord­ing to the script they had agreed.”

Mr Pa­tel told jurors that Sid­dique and Singh used “un­trace­able” throw­away mo­bile phones, false num­ber plates and staged the in­ci­dent to make it look like a rob­bery.

Twenty-eight bags of cash, weigh­ing 408 kilo­grams, had been flown into Heathrow by Swiss bank Credit Suisse the day be­fore bound for the Bank of Ire­land, jurors heard.

“Firm friends” Sid­dique and Singh had re­quested to work to­gether af­ter Sid­dique falsely claimed his car had bro­ken down, jurors heard.

Shortly af­ter col­lect­ing the money from the de­pot Singh got out the van to go to the toi­let and while he was re­liev­ing him­self Sid­dique drove off “with­out by nor leave” at 8.30am, jurors head.

“So for 20 min­utes or so while Mr Sid­dique is gone with £7m in the van Mr Singh does not raise the alarm”, said Mr Pa­tel.

Dur­ing that time, a throw­away phone, later found by po­lice hid­den in Singh’s jacket, re­ceived a 20 sec­ond call from Sid­dique, jurors heard.

Singh’s phone had missed calls from Sid­dique’s phone at the same time he was in West View, Feltham, said Mr Pa­tel.

Mr Pa­tel said Singh, who claimed to not have a phone on him, dis­carded the sim card from the phone at the po­lice sta­tion but the find­ing of the phone led to the plan un­fold­ing.

“It was enough time for Mr Sid­dique to leave the area with the money and trans­fer it to an­other van he had bought a few weeks ear­lier for that pur­pose”, said Mr Pa­tel.

The van had been spot­ted parked in Feltham for days be­fore the heist, jurors heard.

“That was their plot,” said Mr Pa­tel.

“It was pro­fes­sional, planned care­fully over a num­ber of weeks not spon­ta­neous.”

Singh even­tu­ally raised the alarm by ap­proach­ing col­leagues in an­other Loomis van who called the con­trol room just af­ter 9am, but it was too late and the money had gone.

At 11.15am, Sid­dique was spot­ted ly­ing in a ditch near Ger­rard’s Cross, by a cou­ple driv­ing by with his hands and feet tied with ca­ble ties.

“The driver left his car and heard a per­son say­ing ‘help me, help me’, it was Mr Sid­dique,” said Mr Pa­tel.

Sid­dique started to cry and asked not to be left alone and was too distressed to talk be­fore Fly­ing Squad of­fi­cers ar­rived, jurors heard.

He im­me­di­ately ad­mit­ted to be­ing part of the heist but claims to have been forced to do it.

“He says he was threat­ened for some weeks to com­mit the of­fences by un­known per­sons and they threat­ened to burn his house down,” said Mr Pa­tel.

Singh claims to not be in­volved at all.

Mr Pa­tel told jurors Rafaqat Hus­sain, 41, has al­ready pleaded guilty and was “most prob­a­bly the or­gan­iser” who made sure it ran smoothly and later “squir­relled” the money away.

He said Hus­sain’s wife Raz­vana Zeib, 34, and 34-year-old as­so­ci­ate Garry Car­rod who they had pre­vi­ously seen in the dock were no longer part of the trial.

Sid­dique, of Bel­grave Road, Slough and Singh, of Grampian Way, Lan­g­ley, Slough, both deny con­spir­acy to steal.

The trial con­tin­ues.

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