In April 2015, the Hatton Garden Safe Deposit Company, an underground safe deposit facility in London's Hatton Garden area, was burgled. The total stolen may have a value of up to £200 million, and the incident has been called the "largest burglary in English legal history." The heist was planned and carried out by six elderly men who were experienced thieves, all of whom pleaded guilty and received prison sentences in March 2016. Four other men were also tried on suspicion of involvement; three were found guilty and sent to prison, while the fourth was cleared.
The burglars worked through the four-day weekend of the Easter and Passover Bank Holiday, when many of the nearby businesses (many of them also connected with Hatton Garden's jewellery trade) were closed. There was no externally visible sign of a forced entry to the premises. It was reported that the burglars had entered the premises through a lift shaft, then drilled through the 50 cm (20 in) thick vault walls with a Hilti DD350 industrial power drill. The police first announced that the facility had been burgled on 7 April, and reports based on CCTV footage (released by the Daily Mirror before the police released it) state that the attack on the facility commenced on Thursday 2 April. The video showed people nicknamed by the newspaper as "Mr Ginger, Mr Strong, Mr Montana, The Gent, The Tall Man and The Old Man". On 22 April, the police released pictures of the inside of the vault showing damage caused by the burglary, and how the burglars had used holes drilled through the vault's wall to bypass the main vault door.
The theft was so significant that the investigation was assigned to the Flying Squad, a branch of the Specialist, Organised & Economic Crime Command within London's Metropolitan Police Service. On 8 April, press reports emerged speculating that a major underground fire in nearby Kingsway may have been started to create a diversion as part of the Hatton Garden burglary. The London Fire Brigade later stated that the fire had been caused by an electrical fault, with no sign of arson.
- On 1 April 2015, electrical cables under the pavement in Kingsway caught fire, leading to serious disruption in central London. The fire continued for the next two days, with flames shooting out of a manhole cover from a burst gas main, before being extinguished. Several thousand people were evacuated from nearby offices, and several West End theatres cancelled performances. There was also substantial disruption to telecoms infrastructure.
- 2 April: 21:19 depository staff locked doors for the Easter weekend
- 2 April: 21:23 "Mr Ginger" descended to the vault, followed by three men pulling wheelie bins
- 3 April: 00:21 Metropolitan Police were informed that the burglar alarm had been triggered
- 3 April: 08:05 gang members talked before going to their van and driving away
- 4 April: 21:17 "Mr Ginger" went down into vault, and was later joined by two other men
- 5 April: 06:10 the gang members drove away from the building
- 7 April: Scotland Yard said that they were aware of the burglary
- 10 April: The Daily Mirror released CCTV footage
- 19 May: The Metropolitan Police announced that they had arrested nine suspects
- 1 September: Hatton Garden Safe Deposit Company went into liquidation
- 28 March 2018: Another man was arrested
On 19 May 2015, 76-year-old Brian Reader, who had previously been involved in laundering the proceeds of the Brink's-Mat robbery, was arrested in connection with the burglary by Flying Squad officers. In November 2015, Carl Wood, William Lincoln, Jon Harbinson and Hugh Doyle were all charged with conspiracy to commit burglary and conspiracy to conceal, convert or transfer criminal property. 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. He was charged with conspiracy to burgle and conspiracy to conceal or disguise criminal property.
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 offence 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. He was jailed for 21 months, suspended for two years. Doyle was also fined £367.50 for his general criminal conduct in January 2018.
The alleged ringleader, Brian Reader, was sentenced to six years and three months in jail on 21 March 2016.
An eighth man, Jon Harbinson, was found not guilty and discharged.
In January 2018, a confiscation ruling at Woolwich Crown Court ruled that John "Kenny" Collins, Daniel Jones, Terry Perkins, and Brian Reader must pay a total of £27.5 million or face another seven years in jail. Perkins died in prison in February 2018, just a week after the ruling. On 14 August 2018, Daniel Jones had his sentence extended by six years and 287 days for failing to return £6,599,021. On 1 August 2019, Collins was sentenced to an additional 2,309 days in jail for failing to comply with the confiscation order. It was revealed during the hearing Collins had repaid £732,000 of the £7.6m order. Enforcement action was said by the Crown Prosecution Service to be underway to seize Collins' remaining assets.
On 15 March 2019, Michael Seed was found guilty of burglary and conspiracy to burgle and was sentenced to 10 years in prison for the former and eight years for the latter, the two running concurrently.
In television and film
The robbery featured in episode five ("Heist!") of the American investigative science web-TV series White Rabbit Project, released on 9 December 2016. In the programme, presenters investigate and demonstrate the methods used in the heist and show dramatised re-enactments.
The burglary is subject of three feature films: Hatton Garden: The Heist (2016); The Hatton Garden Job (2017), starring Larry Lamb and Phil Daniels; and King of Thieves (2018), starring Michael Caine and Ray Winstone. A four-part television serial, Hatton Garden, starring Kenneth Cranham and Timothy Spall, was aired on ITV in May 2019, after being delayed for 18 months due to ongoing legal developments.
- Antwerp diamond heist (2003) – dubbed the "heist of the century". The thieves stole loose diamonds, gold, and other jewellery valued at more than $100 million.
- Baker Street robbery – 1971 burglary of safe-deposit boxes from a bank in Baker Street, London.
- Schiphol Airport diamond heist – took place on 25 February 2005 with an estimated €75 million ($118 million) stolen.
- List of missing treasures
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- Catherine Neilan (9 April 2015). "Hatton Garden jewel thieves used heavy duty drill Hilti DD350 to bore holes into vault – but did not break into the building". City AM.
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- Bonnie Estridge (17 April 2015). "How we got our Hatton". The Jewish Chronicle. Retrieved 25 June 2018.
- Alexandra Topping (9 April 2015). "No forced entry in Hatton Garden safety deposit box raid, say police". The Guardian.
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- Tom Pettifor (14 April 2015). "Hatton Garden heist: Detectives to quiz jewellery boss who was out of country". Daily Mirror.
- Collins, David (12 April 2015). "Hatton Garden heist: Robbers returned a SECOND time after cops failed to respond to alarm". Daily Mirror. Mirror Group. Retrieved 13 April 2015.
- "Hatton Garden heist CCTV: Watch dramatic moment £60m gem raiders are caught on camera". Daily Mirror. 10 April 2015. Retrieved 13 April 2015.
- Martin Evans (22 April 2015). "Hatton Garden heist: First images from inside vault".
- Rachel Blundy and Sebastian Mann (8 April 2015). "Holborn fire 'could have been deliberately started by burglars responsible for Hatton Garden jewel heist'". London Evening Standard.
- Ross Lydall (9 April 2015). "'Holborn fire wasn't deliberate,' says London fire boss after claims it was linked to London jewel raid". London Evening Standard.
- "Holborn electrical fire causes mass evacuation". BBC News. Retrieved 2 April 2015.
- "Holborn underground fire extinguished". BBC News. 3 April 2015. Retrieved 4 April 2015.
- "Holborn fire costs London firms £40m: Full scale of damage and disruption revealed". The Standard. Retrieved 2 April 2015.
- O'Connor, Roisin. "Holborn fire: Kingsway remains closed as firefighters continue to tackle blaze burning under pavement in central London". The Independent. Retrieved 2 April 2015.
- Alex Scroxton (2 April 2015). "Kingsway fire brings down broadband services in London". Computer Weekly. Retrieved 4 April 2015.
- "Hatton Garden raid: Nine men arrested". BBC News. 19 May 2015.
- Jamie Grierson (1 September 2015). "Hatton Garden safe deposit firm hit by gem heist calls in liquidators". The Guardian. Retrieved 1 September 2015.
- "New arrest over Hatton Garden heist". BBC News. 28 March 2018. Retrieved 28 March 2018.
- "Brink's-Mat: 30 years on from Britain's most notorious gold robbery – Metro News". Metro. Retrieved 1 December 2015.
- "Father and son car dealers are suspects in Hatton Garden heist". Telegraph.co.uk. 20 May 2015. Retrieved 1 December 2015.
- "Hatton Garden raid 'largest in English history'". BBC News. 23 November 2015. Retrieved 23 November 2015.
- "New charge over Hatton Garden heist". BBC News. 28 March 2018. Retrieved 28 March 2018.
- "Hatton Garden heist gang members jailed for a total of 34 years over £14 million raid". Daily Telegraph. 9 March 2016. Retrieved 9 March 2016.
- "Hatton Garden ringleaders must pay £27.5m or serve more years in prison". Sky News. 30 January 2018. Retrieved 1 August 2019.
- "Hatton Garden gang ringleaders ordered to pay £27.5m". BBC News. 30 January 2018.
- "Hatton Garden jewellery raider dies". BBC News. BBC. 5 February 2018. Retrieved 5 February 2018.
- "Hatton Garden raider Daniel Jones given more jail time". BBC News. 14 August 2018. Retrieved 14 August 2018.
- "Hatton Garden burglar John Collins jailed for further seven years over unpaid funds". Sky News. 1 August 2019. Retrieved 1 August 2019.
- "Hatton Garden burglar jailed for extra seven years after failing to pay back £7.6m". The Independent. 1 August 2019. Retrieved 1 August 2019.
- "Final Hatton Garden raider 'Basil' guilty of conspiracy to burgle". BBC News. 15 March 2019.
- Fifield, Nicola. "Michael Caine and Ray Winstone crook the part as they star as the OAPs behind £25m Hatton Garden heist". Daily Mirror. Retrieved 27 May 2017.
- "The King of Thieves - British Films Directory". British Council. 24 April 2018. Retrieved 25 June 2018.
- Griffiths, Eleanor Bley (21 May 2019). "ITV's Hatton Garden was supposed to air in 2017 – writer Jeff Pope explains the legal issues that twice delayed broadcast". Radio Times. Retrieved 25 October 2019.
- Tom Pettifor, Nick Sommerlad, One Last Job: the Extraordinary Life of Brian Reader, Britain's Most Prolific Thief (Mirror Books, 2016)
- Wensley Clarkson, Sexy Beasts: the Inside Story of the Hatton Garden Heist (Quercus Editions, 2016)
- Nigel Cawthorne, The Great Diamond Heist – The Incredible True Story of the Hatton Garden Robbery (2016)