The Brinks Mat robbery shocked many but since then there have been other large Gold Bullion Heists in recent history when at times it has seemed like the wild-west of cowboy movies has returned to the world. We start with that whopping Brinks Mat robbery haul and compare it with others before, and since.
The Brinks Mat Bullion Heist
At around 6.30 am on 26th November in 1983, a gang of 6 forced their way into the Brinks Mat warehouse near Heathrow. The aim of the gang headed up by Mickey McAvoy and Brian Robinson was to make off with what they suspected would be around £3m in cash. Assisted by information from Anthony Black, a security guard who worked at the warehouse, the gang routed the security staff and, having threatening to set them alight, learned the safe combination from them.
A surprise awaited the gang when they entered the safe as they found 6,800 gold bars stored in 76 chests, plus £100,000 worth of diamonds. The gold bars had a combined value of £26m (today approximately £88 million) and the crime that followed has was for a long time the biggest UK gold bullion heist in history in terms of GBP. If you allow for inflation it remains the biggest in the UK.
It was a tight won success because at 8:15 am they left the brinks mat warehouse, and the alarm was raised by one of the guards at 8:30 am. The problem for them was that conversion of £26 million worth of bullion into cash was to prove a major headache for the gang and they were forced to approach a senior underworld figure, known only as ‘the Fox'.
The Brinks Mat robbery – the biggest gold bullion robbery – in real wealth value ever! The heist to end all! A South London gang of six broke into the brinks mat warehouse at Heathrow believing that there were only £3 million on the premises!
Hatton Garden Heist One last Job
In April 2015, the Hatton Garden Safe Deposit Company, an underground safe deposit facility in London's Hatton Garden area, was burgled.
The Hatton Garden ringleader known as “Basil” was found guilty four years after carrying out the £14m heist.
Michael Seed, 58, an alarm specialist, is believed to have let himself into the safe deposit facility in London using a set of keys before disabling the security system.
The underground fire in Kingsway which disrupted the area Police at Hatton Gardens Safe Deposits On 1 April 2015, electrical cables under the pavement in Kingsway caught fire, leading to serious disruption in central London.
The theft was described as the “largest burglary in English legal history”. Three years after the attack, on 28 March 2018, Michael Seed, 57, was arrested after his home in Islington, London had been searched.
On 9 March 2016, at Woolwich Crown Court, three members of the gang, John “Kenny” Collins, Daniel Jones, and Terry Perkins, having pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit burglary, were each given a seven-year prison term.
Carl Wood and William Lincoln were found guilty of the same offense and also one count of conspiracy to conceal, convert or transfer criminal property, after trial. Lincoln was also given a seven-year sentence, and Wood was jailed for six years.
Hugh Doyle was found guilty of concealing, converting or transferring criminal property.
It was revealed during the hearing Collins had repaid £732,000 of the £7.6m order. via wikipedia.org
The Brinks-Mat robbers and launderers included “mad” Micky McAvoy, Brian “the colonel” Robinson and Kenneth Noye, as well as Brian Reader, who at 76 was the ringleader in last year’s Hatton Garden heist, another record-breaking robbery.
Getting Rid of the Gold
The gang finally left the warehouse after almost two hours, having been first forced to go and find a van capable of moving the haul.
The next problem was how to change to gold bullion into money. Enter a legendary figure of the underworld known as ‘The Fox’. His connections led the gang to enlist the help of Adam's family; a crime syndicate well known to the police. In turn, Adam’s family turned to a jeweller associate called Solly Nahome, who would melt and oversee the sale of the Brinks Mat Robbery gold bullion.
The Summer Bliss Robbery (2012)
November 30, 2012, masked guys in ” Police ” coats boarded the ” Summer Season Bliss ” fishing boat in Curacao and also took 70 gold bars considering a total of 216kg with an approximated worth of $11.5 million. The gold delivery was being transhipped via Curacao and also officials on the island had suggested in advance that it was coming as a component of typical safety and security treatments.
6 guys entered the watercraft, striking the captain over the head. The gold was looted in a matter of minutes, the outlaws making off with the 486 pounds of gold bullion in 3 different automobiles.
It was claimed that, in the incorrect idea that they were customs officials, the guards allowed the gang right inside the restricted port location.
Authorities made several apprehensions over the following months, however, none led to a sentence due to lawful obstacles that stemmed from contrasting reports and also witness inconsistencies.
3 vehicles were utilized to move the gold from the boat, however to where is something that stumped police. At the time of composing this article just 56 of the 70 gold bars had been seized by the authorities. A further 11 were found by customs officials in Puerto Rico in January 2013.
Kerry Packer Safe Cracking (1995) – 285 kg Gold Bullion
An expert safe cracker police believe robbed Kerry Packer of $5.4 million of gold bullion was the slipperiest thief the cops tailing him had ever faced.
The master criminal known as ‘Mr. X' pulled off the brazen heist on the last weekend of April 1995 from a hidden safe inside the media mogul's Sydney HQ.
The suspected burglar (a professional safecracker) stayed in the exact same block as Packer ‘s personal secretary and was likewise having an intimate partnership with her. Packer was stated to have actually understood this guy likewise, they often visited the very same dining establishment. No person was ever charged.
Between 8 pm on Friday the 28th of April 1995 and 8.30 am the following Monday, 25 gold bars weighing 285 kgs were stolen from a safe in Australian media tycoon Kerry Packer's office, as well as a glass jar full of gold nuggets and a gold and silver necklace. At the time, the loot was worth AUD 5.2 million.
An ‘old-fashioned security system ‘ meant nobody was notified when the thief went into with one of three entryways to the building. The door to Packer ‘s office had actually been very carefully prized open and also blister marks on the carpet were found just 10cm far from the drinks cupboard, behind which the safe was concealed.
Brink’s-Mat Robbery (1983) – 3 tons of Gold Bars
How much did they get away with at the Brinks Mat robbery? It was 3 tons of gold bars. The Brink’s-mat incident is the biggest gold robbery in Britain's history. It took six armed men plus an insider (a security guard) to pull it off.
The police soon realized that inside information must have been part of the scheme and immediately began looking at Black. Black was brought in for questioning when enquiries turned up the fact that he was in a relationship with the sister of Robinson – a criminal that they knew from past experience. It didn’t take long for Black to buckle under pressure and he gave up both Robinson and McAvoy. Faced with a mountain of evidence, including details of their recent spending sprees, the two men admitted their part in the crime.
The outcome of the trial
McAvoy hoped to negotiate a lighter sentence by way of returning his share of the gold and so left it with some friends, one called Brian Perry. When the time came to hand the gold bullion back over, Perry refused. The police also arrested him and he was eventually given a 9-year sentence for handing the gold. Perry was gunned down shortly after leaving prison in what was a suspected revenge attack for his refusal to hand the gold back. Robinson and McAvoy both received a 25-year prison sentence for their role in the heist. Although the attempt was ultimately unsuccessful, the UK gold bullion heist went down in history and much of the gold was never recovered.
Other Notable Large Historic Gold Bullion Heists Other than the Brinks Mat Robbery follow:
British Bank of the Middle East Heist (1976) – 12 tons of Gold Bars
On January 20, 1976, eight armed men stole 12 tons of gold bullion bars and ingots worth $50 million from the British bank of the middle east in Beirut.
The bank robbers entered a catholic church next door to the British bank of the middle east and blew a hole through the wall. Allied with crack Corsican locksmiths, the thieves emptied the vault full of jewels, stocks, foreign and Lebanese currency, and, of course, gold bars.
Nazi Germany Gold Plunder (1939-1945) – 1,038 tons of Gold
The “Nazi Germany Gold Plunder” is the stolen gold (or “Raubgold” in German) that was plundered throughout world war ii to help Nazi Germany finance their war efforts. It is believed that Hitler executed a policy of looting the assets of countries, companies, and private citizens by collecting looted assets in central depositories and transferring the gold bullion to overseas banks.
What: the nazis’ Europe-wide gold pillage. Where: throughout Europe. When: 1939–1945. How much: 1,038 tons of gold. Wars cost money, and Nazi Germany officials sought to finance their battles with gold stolen from citizens, companies, countries—anywhere gold could be found.
Japanese Invasion of China (1937) – 6,600 tons of Gold
Starting in 1937, the rape of Nanking began, and the task force carried out its duty with full force. The gold bullion stockpile was a lot larger than anticipated and also the Japanese looted Nanking for over 6,000 metric tonnes of gold bullion, a bounty of silver, as well as an inconceivable amount of precious gems, making the Japanese invasion of china one of the most significant gold heists ever described in the records of history.
The gold bullion hoard was much more than expected and the Japanese looted Nanking for over 6000 metric tonnes of gold bullion, a bounty of silver and an unimaginable amount of precious gemstones, making the Japanese invasion of china one of the biggest gold heists ever recorded.
The Great Gold Robbery, 1855
The Great Gold Robbery took place on the night of 15 May 1855, when three London firms each sent a box of gold bars and coins from London Bridge station for Paris via the South Eastern Railway.
On the night of 15 May 1855, three boxes containing gold belonging to Abell and Co., Spielmann, and Bult were delivered by a firm of carriers to the South Eastern Railway at London Bridge station where they were put aboard the guard's van.
The boxes were sealed and bound with iron bars and were placed in safes secured by Chubb locks. The duplicate keys to the safes were held by confidential servants of the railway company in London and Folkestone by the captains of the South Eastern railway's boats.
When the boxes were taken out of the safes at Boulogne and weighed, it was discovered that one weighed 40 lb (18 kg) less than it should have, while the other two each weighed a little more. Despite this discrepancy, the boxes were transferred to a train for Paris. Upon arrival in Paris they were weighed again and when they were opened, it was discovered that lead shot had been substituted for the gold. via en.wikipedia.org
At the end of the trial, the men were convicted, the jury being absent only ten minutes. Burgess and Tester were sentenced to transportation for fourteen years, but Pierce, convicted of simple larceny, only received two years with “the first, 12th and 24th month to be spent in solitary confinement”. It was a remarkable case and the crime had all the hallmarks of great robberies. These being the audacity, the link with the man with inside information, the reconnaissance, the careful planning, and the essential amount of patience. via www.btp.police.uk
Panama Papers and British Gold
Finally, as a footnote, it is interesting to note that leaked tax documents allege that a Panamanian-shell company may have helped hide millions of dollars from the Brinks-Mat heist.
But many of the proceeds from the heist, and most of the gold, have never been recovered. This only came to light due to a massive leak of documents known as the Panama papers.