Hatton Garden drama star Timothy Spall has slammed the elderly villains who pulled off the £14m heist in 2015, saying they ‘ruined lives and small businesses’.
A band of criminals – mostly elderly men, drilled through a concrete vault wall and ransacked 72 safe-deposit boxes in the Hatton Garden jewelry district in April 2015 – stealing cash, jewellery and gold worth more than 14 million pounds.
Now retold in a four-part drama series for ITV, with Timothy taking on the role of ringleader Terry Perkins, the veteran actor blasted the criminals for their ruthless actions.
Slammed: Hatton Garden drama star Timothy Spall (second R) has slammed the elderly villains who pulled off the £14m heist in 2015, saying they ‘ruined lives and small business’
He told The Sun: ‘They are not lovable rogues. They are criminals. And as we all know, criminality requires ruthlessness. That’s a given part of the chosen profession.
‘It ruined the lives of ordinary people and small businesses. This drama shows the consequences.Criminals don’t care about the victims.’
Writer Jeff Pope added: ‘The mark-up on diamond and gold isn’t huge, and some of these jewellers couldn’t afford insurance on their boxes. They lost everything when the gang struck.’
The drama used previously unheard police tapes to nail why the gang were captured, including the decision to go back to the vault after failing to break through during their first attempt in the early hours of Good Friday.
Cast: Timothy joins cast members David Hayman, Brian F O’Byrne, Kenneth Cranham and Geoff Bell in the drama
Audacious: A band of criminals – mostly elderly men, drilled through a concrete vault wall and ransacked 72 safe-deposit boxes in the Hatton Garden jewelry district in April 2015 – stealing cash, jewellery and gold worth more than 14 million pounds
The gang also used a traceable white Mercedes to buy a new hydraulic ram and broke an agreement not to communicate with one another for a period of six months after the heist.
The series was originally planned for release in 2017 but after prosecutors told the broadcaster it clashed with the trial of Terry, it was delayed. The trial itself was also eventually delayed because of Perkins’ poor health.
The four-part series, starring Timothy Spall, was due to be shown in December – on the same day Perkins was to go on trial over the £1 million burglary of Chatila jewellers in Old Bond Street.
The career criminal, 69, died on February 5 in Belmarsh prison, in south-east London, where he was serving a seven-year sentence for his role in the estimated £14 million Hatton Garden raid.
In March 2019 the final member of the gang, Michael Seed, 58, was found guilty of conspiracy to burgle and conceal criminal property and jailed for 10 years at Woolwich Crown Court.
Heist: Now retold in a four-part drama series for ITV, with Timothy taking on the role of ringleader Terry Perkins, the veteran actor blasted the criminals for their ruthless actions
Six men have been convicted. Seed, who was also known as ‘Basil,’ was the last of the gang to be sentenced.
Police had rounded up all but one of the ageing gang soon after the record-breaking 2015 heist – but they didn’t know the identity of the mystery final man, who had disabled the alarms and squeezed into the vault.
Seed first came onto the police radar when a surveillance team spotted him chatting to one of the gang, John ‘Kenny’ Collins, in the weeks after the raid – but at that point detectives had no idea who he was.
By the end of November 2015, police identified Collins’ confidant as Seed, starting a two-year surveillance operation which eventually confirmed he was Basil, the one that got away.
2015: He told The Sun : ‘They are not lovable rogues. They are criminals. And as we all know, criminality requires ruthlessness. That’s a given part of the chosen profession’
Unaware he was being watched, Seed continued to go about his business, travelling to Portugal in 2016 and Spain in 2017, as police built their case against him.
Last year, when the Met’s Flying Squad were finally sure that Seed had some of the loot, they moved in on his messy north London council flat and found 933 items stolen in the raid stashed in a wardrobe.
Seed, who pays no taxes and rarely uses a bank account, evaded capture for three years before police raided his flat in north London last year.
In 2016, gang members Perkins, Danny Jones, Brian Reader and Carl Wood, who pulled out and did not profit from the raid, were jailed.
Prosecutors say £13.69 million was made by the burglars but only £4,324,437 has been recovered.
£3.6 million worth of valuables have been returned to its owners, some of it damaged.
Another £689,233 cannot be returned because its owners have not come forward, or because it is not possible to identify who it belongs to.
Gang: Writer Jeff Pope added: ‘The mark-up on diamond and gold isn’t huge, and some of these jewellers couldn’t afford insurance on their boxes. They lost everything when the gang struck’
The raid at the Hatton Garden Safe Deposit company in London’s diamond district is believed to be the largest burglary in British legal history.
The official value of the stolen goods was estimated at £13.7million worth of jewellery, precious gems and cash – but sources say that the unclear nature of what was taken means the true value could be closer to double that.
The Hatton Garden raid was the ‘swansong’ job of a gang of ageing crooks with dreams of retiring to the Costa del Sol.
The men were aged from 58 to 76 at the time of the raid.
The gang drew on experiences from two crimes – the £26million Brink’s Mat gold heist and the £6million Security Express cash robbery.
Blunder: The drama used previously unheard police tapes to nail why the gang were captured, including the decision to go back to the vault after failing during their first attempt in the early hours of Good Friday
The gang planned the raid for the long Easter bank holiday weekend when they believed they would be free to work uninterrupted after security guards locked up on Thursday night.
The ringleaders John ‘Kenny’ Collins, 78, Daniel Jones, 64, Terry Perkins, 69 and the oldest member Brian Reader, now 80, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit burglary in September 2015.
Reader was given six years while Collins, Perkins, Jones, and William Lincoln, 63, all got seven years for conspiracy to commit burglary.
They were later ordered to repay £27.5million between them or have their sentences increased.
A week later Perkins died in jail while awaiting trial for his role in another raid.
Basil: In March 2019 the final member of the gang, Michael Seed, 58, was found guilty of conspiracy to burgle and conceal criminal property and jailed for 10 years at Woolwich Crown Court
Gang: Fellow Hatton Garden ringleaders (left to right) Daniel Jones, Terry Perkins and Brian Reader
Reader travelled to the site by bus using someone else’s Freedom Pass, while Collins transported the rest of the gang, dressed as workmen in high-visibility vests, in a battered white Transit van.
Seed, who had sourced a key to the building’s heavy double wooden doors, let himself in.
He then let his accomplices in through the fire escape where they brought in tools and equipment in wheelie bins along with large metal joists, while Collins acted as lookout from over he road at 25 Hatton Garden.
They then dropped into the basement, where one of the men forced open the metal shutter before ‘Basil’ dealt with the alarms.
Although they had breached the wall on the first night, they were faced with another problem – the back of the metal cabinet housing the safe deposit boxes, which was bolted to the ceiling and floor.
Almost ten hours after entering the building, with no success, the gang were forced to call time on their efforts and left for the night.
Shock: The criminals bored through a half-meter thick concrete wall to access a vault in a safe deposit centre in Hatton Garden
The failure proved too much for Reader and he quit to the disgust of Perkins, who would later call him ‘an old ponce’ and said: ’12 years I’ve been with him, three four bits of work, f***ed every one of them.’
The gang arrived back at 88-90 Hatton Garden at 10pm the following night and Seed let Jones and Perkins in and the pair enthusiastically got to work battering the metal cabinet to the floor using the recently purchased pump.
When they finally knocked the cabinet down, Basil and Jones squeezed through the hole and jemmied open as many of the safe deposit boxes as they could.
When they emerged from the fire escape at 5.44am they had ransacked 73 of the 999 safe deposit boxes, 44 of which were being used by 40 tenants.
Mysteriously, the burglars left a cassette tape found in one of the boxes of ‘someone confessing to something’ for the authorities to find.
They then made off in their white Transit van, now sitting low on its suspension, with just short of millions in of stolen gold, gems, jewellery and cash hidden in two wheelie bins.
But the main players were caught out as they boasted of their exploits during a drinking session at the Castle pub in Islington and they were jailed in March 2016.
The raid inspired the film ‘King of Thieves’, which premiered on September 14 last year, and starred Michael Caine and Ray Winstone.
Hatton Garden airs nightly in four parts from Monday May 20 till Thursday May 23 at 9pm on ITV.
Scene of the crime: Smashed safe deposit boxes can be seen in the aftermath of the heist