Robbery gang left £153m behind - because they couldn't fit it into their lorry


Last updated at 21:19 27 June 2007


Armed robbers who stole £53 million from a cash depot left almost three times as much behind, a court heard.

Their seven and a half ton Renault van was just too small to take all the money stacked in the Securitas vault.

Some £153 million was still there when the gang roared off.

The Old Bailey, where eight people are on trial, heard that the robbers spent an hour and six minutes loading as much as they could into the van.

As well as "cages" of cash from the depot, there were packed holdalls and loose bundles of £20 notes.

The court heard the gang were hindered by forklift truck driver Tony Mason, who effectively sabotaged his machine so they could not use it.

CCTV footage from the depot showed that the robbers had been heavily armed. Their weapons included a Skorpion machine pistol, pump action shotgun, handgun and a weapon similar to an AK 47 assault rifle.

The second day of the trial also heard stark details of the ordeal suffered by the Securitas depot manager Colin Dixon, 52, his wife Lynn, 46, and their young child, who cannot be named for legal reasons.

Mr Dixon was kidnapped at gunpoint by the gang, posing as policemen, hours before the robbery on the night of February 21 last year. His wife and child were also kidnapped separately.

Prosecutor Sir John Nutting QC told the jury that at one point "Mrs Dixon believed that she and her child were going to be shot".

He said: "She feared the robbers considered that she and her child had seen too much. She tried to shield the child with her body."

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Mrs Dixon and the child were in the back of the Renault as the gang drove it to the Bank of England money store in Tonbridge, Kent.

They were guarded by a robber dressed in black and wearing a balaclava. He had a gun in one hand and a torch in the other which he flashed intermittently at them.

Sir John said: "What were the thoughts which passed through that child's mind during the course of that journey? It is perhaps better not to dwell. The fears of his mother can be but dimly imagined."

The court has heard that Mrs Dixon was abducted by gang members who called at her home posing as policemen and said her husband had been in an accident.

Mr Dixon had already been stopped by two bogus policemen on his way home to Herne Bay, Kent.

They accused him of speeding, then handcuffed him and threatening him with a gun. He was told: "This is a 9mm - we are not ****ing about."

He was transferred to a van and warned that if he did not cooperate: "You'll get a hole in you".

Sir John said Mr Dixon and his wife were held in different parts of an isolated farm in Kent owned by defendant John Fowler, though neither knew the other was there.

After the robbery the Dixons and 14 depot staff were locked inside the metal security cages.

Sir John said it was the most terrifying moment of all.

They feared the gunmen would shoot them or set fire to the building, giving them no chance of escape.

As the gang left at 2.43am, one shouted: "Don't do anything silly - we know where you live."

Seven people deny conspiracy to rob, conspiracy to kidnap the Dixons and conspiracy to possess firearms.

They are car dealer Fowler, 58, of Staplehurst, Kent; post office worker Emir Hysenaj, 27, of Crowborough, East Sussex, car salesman Stuart Royle, 48, of Maidstone; unemployed Jetmir Bucpapa, 26, of Tonbridge; roofer Lea Rusha, 35, of Southborough, Kent; hairdresser Michelle Hogg, 32, of Woolwich, South-east London; and garage owner Roger Coutts, 30, of Welling, South-east London.

Signwriter Keith Borer, 53, of Maidstone, Kent, denies handling stolen money.

The hearing continues today.

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