herald

Tuesday 6 December 2016

Irish plumber refused bail as eight in court over €14m gems heist

Hugh Doyle
Hugh Doyle

An Irishman was remanded in custody after being charged in relation to one of the UK's biggest ever robberies.

Dubliner Hugh Doyle was arrested on Tuesday at his home in Enfield, north London, by officers from the Metropolitan Police Service's Flying Squad investigating the Hatton Garden diamond heist.

The 48-year-old was refused bail along with seven other co-accused who were all charged with conspiracy to commit burglary.

The alleged gang, aged between 48 and 76, arrived at a packed Westminster Magistrates' Court in an armoured convoy and surrounded by armed police blocking the street as a Scotland Yard helicopter circled above.

notorious

The contents of 56 safe deposit boxes were stolen from Hatton Garden Safe Deposit Ltd over the Easter weekend last month.

Prosecutor Ed Hall said the case was a serious one and could only be heard at the Crown Court.

"This case is a notorious one which has been the subject of much media attention," Mr Hall told District Judge Tan Ikram.

"The burglars broke into the Hatton Garden Safe Deposit Company over the Easter weekend.

"Some 73 safe deposit boxes were opened. The full value has yet to be ascertained, but it runs into in excess of £10m (€14.08m)."

Judge Ikram remanded the men in custody and warned: "The allegation is a serious one which would carry a lengthy custodial sentence if convicted."

The men who appeared were Terry Perkins (67), Daniel Jones (58) and Hugh Doyle (48), all of Enfield; John Collins (74), of Islington, north London; William Lincoln (59), of Bethnal Green, east London; father and son Brian Reader (76) and Paul Reader (50), both of Dartford, Kent; and Carl Wood (58), of Cheshunt, Hertfordshire.

They spoke only to confirm their names, addresses and dates of birth.

Two of the men had to ask for the questions to be repeated because they are hard of hearing. When the men first stepped into court, some supporters in the packed public gallery waved towards the dock before sitting and listening to the brief hearing.

The charge states that together, between April 1 and May 19, they conspired to enter as a trespasser a building, namely The Hatton Garden Safe Deposit Ltd at 88-90 Hatton Gardens EC1, with intent to steal. They are due to appear at Southwark Crown Court on June 4.

A ninth man has been bailed pending further inquiries, but a tenth suspect, a 42-year-old Briton from Essex, was arrested yesterday and is being questioned at a London police station.

Flying Squad detectives arrested the men on Tuesday after a series of morning raids at properties in London and Kent.

The thieves ransacked dozens of safety deposit boxes before escaping, leaving a trail of destruction in their wake.

They had used a drill to bore a hole 20 inches deep, 10 inches high and 18 inches wide into the vault wall.

apologised

Flying Squad bosses apologised following the arrests after it emerged that a security firm's call about an intruder alert at the premises shortly after midnight on Good Friday was deemed not to require a response.

The squad is a branch of the Specialist, Organised and Economic Crime Command Unit within the Met, who investigate commercial armed robberies as well as other serious armed crime.

Officers were involved in foiling the Millennium Dome raid in November 2000.

A more detailed investigation into the defeat of the alarm system is continuing and Scotland Yard says it will share any lessons learned.

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