London: Five men involved in a daring London heist that drew comparisons with the film Ocean's Eleven — albeit with pensioners filling the lead roles — were jailed for a combined total of 34 years on Wednesday.
Prosecutors called the raid on Hatton Garden, London's jewellery district, the "biggest burglary in English legal history", netting £14 million ($20.1 million, 18.5 million euros) worth of booty including jewellery, gold and cash.
A jury at Woolwich Crown Court in southeast London last month convicted Carl Wood, 59, and William Lincoln, 60, of conspiracy to commit burglary, and also conspiracy to conceal, convert or transfer criminal property.
Hugh Doyle, 48, was also found guilty of concealing, converting or transferring criminal property.
Another four men — John Collins, 75, Daniel Jones, 61, Terrence Perkins, 67 and Brian Reader, 77 — earlier pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to burgle.
Ringleaders Collins, Jones, Perkins and Lincoln were each jailed for seven years and Wood for six.
Reader will be sentenced later after suffering a stroke in London's Belmarsh prison. Doyle was given a 21-month sentence, suspended for two years.
On sentencing, judge Christopher Kinch said the burglary "stands in a class of its own in the scale of the ambition, the detail of the planning, the level of preparation and the organisation of the team carrying it out, and in terms of the value of the property stolen."
'Basil' on the run
Lawyer Ed Hall of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said the four main ringleaders were "a close-knit group of experienced criminals".
The group broke into the vault on April 2 last year, and over three days forced open 73 secure boxes where many jewellers had left their stock over the Easter holiday.
The press had compared the robbery to Hollywood heist flicks, but the reality was much less glamorous with the seven convicted men boasting a combined age of 447.
Disguised as gas workers and fitted with hard hats, the group rappelled down an elevator shaft then used a diamond-tipped industrial drill to bore three large holes in a concrete wall 50 centimetres (20 inches) thick.
Prosecutors said that they hatched their plan while drinking at the Castle pub in Islington, north London.
The court also heard that they watched videos on YouTube to learn about drilling techniques.
Police even found a book entitled Forensic Science for Dummies at the home of Jones.
Two-thirds of the loot has not been found and a red-headed suspect known as "Basil" is still on the loose.
There is a £20,000 reward for information leading to his arrest and the recovery of outstanding stolen property, said Scotland Yard, London's police headquarters.
So far, just over £3.7 million worth of gold and jewellery has been recovered.
First Published On : Mar 9, 2016 22:08 IST