Britains Biggest Armed Robbery Brinks Mat - xB WebPRO Agency


Britains Biggest Armed Robbery Brinks Mat

george francis brinks mat

It was claimed that Palmer was suffering from overwork on smelting duties. They smuggled the new, untraceable gold bars out of the country in lorry drivers’ lunchboxes and by private plane and reimported them with a ‘legitimate’ paper trail.

On Saturday the 26th November 1983, six armed robbers broke into the Brinks-Mat warehouse located in Unit 7 of the Heathrow International Trading Estate close to Heathrow airport. Brinks-Mat was known for transporting valuable goods, such as gold and cash, around the world and so the warehouse was known to contain large amounts of valuables most of the time.

At trial during November 1985, Noye and Reader were found not guilty of the murder of the policeman Fordham, although they received long sentences for VAT fraud, Noye receiving 14 years. The second robbery was the big one, on 26 November 1983 at the Brinks Mat security warehouse at Heathrow airport where £26 million was taken in gold bars, over 6,000 gold bars the size of Mars bars. The police managed to charge Palmer with handling the stolen gold but he managed to persuade a jury that he didn’t know it was stolen gold. Others involved in the robbery and distribution of gold suspected that Palmer was a police informer.

Murder Of Stephen Cameron

Their van eventually started, but at least three murders could have been prevented if the gold had been found there and then. Much of the original haul from the robbery has still not been recovered by police to this day. A private investigator, Daniel Morgan, was found dead with an axe in his head in 1987, in a South London car park. Some of his investigations were claimed to have been linked to the aftermath of the robbery. Palmer was finally jailed for eight years at the Old Bailey in 2001 for timeshare fraud after cheating money out of 17,000 Brits. He left Britain and went on to build a £300million fortune with a massive timeshare con in Tenerife. He lived a jet-set lifestyle with homes in Britain, Tenerife and a French chateau.

The majority of the looted gold has never been recovered, and likely never will be. 4 of the robbers haven’t been identified, much less charged for their involvement.

george francis brinks mat

They refused to comment on the questions asking if Palmer had been a police informer. However, it was admitted that the police in both the UK and Spain that Palmer’s jail cells and phone calls were bugged. During the raid, the gang targeted 73 out of the 550 strong boxes, these would be crammed with jewellery and other forms of wealth.

He was under surveillance and killed a police officer who was in his garden. He was fined for his part in the robbery as well as given a 14 year sentence, of which he served 7 years. The gang had been led to believe that there was around £3.2 million in cash within the vault, but greed took over and the robbers decided to take the gold bars due to the value they would make back. After filling their getaway van full of gold, the men departed – leaving the members of staff still handcuffed. Palmer returned to his home Sandpit Cottage, South Weald, Essex and increased security. On the 24thJune 2015 in the early evening , John Palmer was killed by a professional hit. It seemed hardly believable and led to rumours that police deliberately misdiagnosed the cause of death in order to give the killer more time to escape.

The Who’s Who Of British Crime: In The Twentieth Century

However, police eventually found eleven gold bars hidden around the premises and he was later found guilty of conspiring to handle gold from the robbery and conspiring to evade VAT payments. Seven months prior to the murder of George Francis, sixty-three-year-old Brian Perry, also linked to the heist, was shot dead in an almost identical situation as he arrived for work early in the morning. He was murdered in the area of Bermondsey – close to where Francis was killed.

  • This exposed Palmer for everyone to see what a corrupting and damaging character he was.
  • Early in the 20th century the Brighton Trunk Murders gripped a nation, but not in quite the same way as the crimes of Doctor Crippen and George Joseph Smith .
  • Police visited Palmer to inform him about the death of George Francis which Palmer thought was an attempt to portray Palmer as an informant, a deliberate attempt to mark him out as a ‘grass’.
  • It was proceeds from the Brinks Mat robbery that were used to fund the importation of the drug ecstasy which was to be so popular in the late 1980s.
  • The Brink’s-Mat robbery occurred at the Heathrow International Trading Estate on 26 November 1983, with a record £26 million (today approximately £ million) worth of gold bullion, diamonds, and cash stolen from a warehouse.
  • As I record this podcast, I will try to complete it in a single episode, if it seems to be taking a long time, I will make it two episodes, and release the second the next day.

Instead, with the help of one of his prison officers, he turned his life around to become a world-record holder in indoor rowing and a Nike-sponsored athlete. No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder. In January 1995, the High Court ordered McAvoy to make a payment of pounds 27,488,299 – in effect making him responsible for the entire sum stolen.

The Mick had been shielding from Rowley a bar hangout of legitimate gringos he didn’t want Rowley to meet. He introduced himself to the bar manager as The Mick’s partner, convincing him to cash a bad check. The Mick learned this the micky mcavoy next morning when Rowley came back for more, the manager all too eager to sell him pesos for traveler’s checks at a favorable exchange rate on the dollar. Three tons of gold and two boxes of diamonds are on the record as part of the loot. Rowley may have also gotten diamonds or a small cash payment before fleeing for Spain, then the Colombian islands of San Andres in 1984. She has now written a book about the incredible life she led with the man who is considered Britain’s top gangster.

Any act which threated their wealth, property or sense of law and order was criminalised and made punishable by death. Prison Brixton with two other inmates, including Provisional IRA member Gerard Tuite. Moody, 39, was due to appear at the Old Bailey accused of armed robbery.James Alfred Moody who escaped from a security wing at H.M.

Heathrow Airport100% 1

It happened back in the 70’s when MI5/6 recruited a gang to rob a vault to recover some damming photo’s of Princess Margaret and then threw them to the Wolves and they all got jailed. Just three out of 15 men involved in planning and executing the robbery were ever convicted – robbers “Mad” Mickey McAvoy and Brian “The Colonel” Robinson and security guard insider Tony Black, Robinson’s brother in law. Further investigations george francis brinks mat led to the arrest of fellow gang member Micky McAvoy. He and Robinson stood trial at the Old Bailey in December 1984, both men convicted and each sentenced to 25 years. With most of the gang still at large and the gold unrecovered, police investigations continued. It emerged another man, Kenneth Noye, was recruited to dispose of part of the haul, melting it down for resale back into the bullion market.

  • The Hatton Garden Safe deposit company was broken into over Easter in 2015.
  • 2 nominee directors were appointed to Feberion, and the company then issued 2 bearer shares.
  • One of Noye’s police contacts persuaded a customs official not to target him, while his tip-offs to the Metropolitan Police’s Flying Squad were reportedly a means to prevent competition from rival criminals.
  • Those who committed the heist did not have many or even any connections or understanding of selling gold and so decided to branch out their loot to other individuals with more of an understanding.
  • The thieves had ram-raided the bank using the Peugeot 205, they stole money from the cash dispenser and fled.Police inspect outside the HSBC bank in Southgate, north London, after an armed robbery which took place today.
  • Police foiled an attempted robbery of 40 million worth of cash and gold bullion this morning.

The gang thought they were going to steal around £3.2 million in cash, but were surprised to discover three tonnes of gold bullion. They used the warehouse’s own forklift trucks to load the 76 boxes of gold into their battered Ford Transit, which creaked under the weight. A man identified as depositing £500,000 in cash to the Hong Kong & Shanghai Bank is thought to have been notorious armed robber David Moore. Two days after the robbery, a couple saw a white-hot crucible operating in a garden hut at a neighbour’s property near Bath, Somerset.

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According to the police spokesman, the bars were gold-coated tungsten counterfeits, and therefore could not be Johnson Matthey’s stolen gold bars. Suspecting it to be linked to the bullion robbery, they immediately informed the police. The wreckage of Ford Granada used in a getaway attempt, after an armed robbery went wrong in Shooter’s Hill, London. Police shot dead two men involved in the incident.The wreckage of Ford Granada used in a getaway attempt, after an armed robbery went wrong in Shooter’s Hill, London.

george francis brinks mat

However, Noye was involved and he had found the perfect way to get rid of the gold bars in return for cash. Noye decided to travel to Jersey and while here, he purchased eleven gold bars that came with legal and correct paperwork. Following this perfectly legal transaction, Noye then visited a safety deposit box and placed the eleven gold bars inside and walked away with just the receipts. Prior to the heist, Noye had been a police informant and had many connections with corrupt officers. Although he had helped the police in some instances, this did not cover up the fact that Noye was a criminal and also had numerous criminal connections.

In the late 1980s, Tenerife was turning into a lawless land, Timeshare scams, drug importations, people trafficking, trafficking of women . Palmer was slowly losing control in Tenerife, and it seems that the situation was even worse on mainland Spain. Palmer lost control of the three timeshare resorts that he controlled on the Costa del Sol. He signed over to London based gangsters some of whom had been involved with the Brinks Matt robbery, this was probably part of the Clerkenwell gang syndicate. By 1990, Palmer would have eleven Timeshare resort complexes, The timeshare touts would be paid up to £50 for every buyer they managed to persuade to attend seminars, this on top of a small basic salary. Over a five year period, after Palmer invested £5 million in 450 timeshare villas which was capable of making him £72 million, but these figures are not certain as they came from Marnie Palmer’s book. Although making vast amounts of money being made on timeshare, Palmer was expanding other activities such as money laundering, drug trafficking and arms smuggling.

Police spun the informant story as they did not want it known that they had a surveillance operation on Palmer, or that they had a spy plane . Palmer knew about the Millennium Dome raid because he had put up money for it, but he was now suspected of being the informant. There were rumours that he was deliberately setting up robberies so the police could foil them. Palmer’s name was considered contemptible amongst many in London’s underworld. Palmer was confused and tried to distance himself from others, he thought he was being set-up. Unbeknown to John Palmer at around this time, he was under close surveillance by various law agencies.

The police and insurance companies were also trying to get back stolen money. There was a lot of paranoia, jealousy and shootings, so much so that it was said that the Brinks Mat gold was cursed. In 1985 he killed a police officer after he had discovered him in his garden. One of the robbers – named Brian Robinson, was caught after security guard Black gave his name to the investigators. Scotland Yard quickly discovered the family connection and Black confessed to aiding and abetting the team, providing them with a key to the main door, and giving them details of security measures. The so-called “Curse of Brink’s-Mat” or “Curse of the Brink’s-Mat millions” refers to the shooting deaths of several men who were allegedly involved. These deaths were thought by members of the London criminal underworld to be related to laundering of the gold.

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The business was doing very well, Palmer and his companions felt protected as they had some corrupt police officers who kept them informed of any police activity. Scadlynn’s were smuggling gold into the UK, asn part of a VAT scam, as they devised various other schemes to work to their advantage. Noye had also been investigated by Daniel Morgan and he was a mason with corrupt police in his pay . The police were anxious to trace the stolen gold as they knew it would be used to finance organised crime.

News Corp is a network of leading companies in the worlds of diversified media, news, education, and information services. On 1 April 2017 BBC Radio 4 aired a drama, The Hatton Garden Heist, which included the events of the Brink’s-Mat robbery. On 4 November 2003, Channel 4 broadcast a documentary on the events of the raid. In 1990, the former treasurer of the Great Train Robbery, Charlie Wilson, had moved to Marbella, Spain, where he was suspected of being involved in drug smuggling. Engaged to launder some of the proceeds from the Brink’s-Mat robbery, he lost the investors £3 million. On 19 May 1996, while on release from prison on licence, Noye was involved in an altercation with 21-year-old motorist Stephen Cameron on a slip road of the M25 motorway near Swanley in Kent during a road rage incident.

george francis brinks mat

It is believed that while smuggling drugs, Charles was asked to launder some of the proceeds from the Brinks-Mat robbery. At the time of his murder, Taffy Holmes was serving on the Brinks Mat investigation. Many believe that Daniel held information about Brinks-Mat and corrupt investigators and that he was going to leak this to numerous newspapers. With this piece of paper, Noye would be able to pass off the gold bars from the heist as the ones he had bought in Jersey and would be able to sell the bars in bulk of eleven without raising suspicion. The plan was that Tony would inspect what was in the vault that day and when there was a large amount to rob, he would telephone Robinson and tell him, “Let’s go fishing tonight”. For security, one individual would be in charge of turning the key and the second man, Robin, would be responsible for inputting the combinations to unlock the vaults. Before they left for the vaults, the two men were covered in petrol and warned that if they did anything suspicious, they would happily throw a lit match on them.

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The supergrass Kenneth Regan assisted police with information about Urquhart’s murder. Graeme West was subsequently jailed for Urquhart’s killing, as was his accomplice Geoffrey Heath, who planned the murder. Black gave the name of his brother-in-law, Brian Robinson, who was arrested in December 1983. Black and Micky McAvoy were tired in December 1984 and both sentenced to prison with the former getting 6 years and the latter getting 25 years. McAvoy gave his share of the proceeds to Brian Perry and George Francis, his partners in crime, to dispose of. Perry hired Kenneth Noye to get rid of the gold since he was an expert in such things. It might have worked but the movement of such large amounts of gold came to the attention of the Bank of England who called in police.

Nothing has appeared in its place and the whole site is now just rubble. One of his new ideas was to invest in Timeshare development, he was cash rich and needed something to put the money into. Money was also channelled through a Panama shell company called Feberion Inc by the law firm Mossack Fonseca for Gordon Parry, this was discovered by a ‘whistle blower’ revealing their criminal dealings in 2016. Mossack Fonseca prevented British police from gaining control of the company in an attempt to get money back. When McAvoy eventually came out of prison in 2000, Perry and four others involved in laundering the gold and money were murdered.


There are all sorts of different stories and rumours but, as said it is claimed that the development of Docklands and Canary Wharf building projects was partly funded by money generated by Brinks Mat gold as well as a lot of drug importation. It was proceeds from the Brinks Mat robbery that were used to fund the importation of the drug ecstasy which was to be so popular in the late 1980s. He was aged 32, a professional armed robber who had been planning the raid for 6 months with Brian Robinson.


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