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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The UK Gold Bullion Robbery That Has Gone Down In Crime History 

On the morning of the 26th November in 1983 at around 6.30am, a gang of six men broke into a warehouse owned by Brinks Mat. The group, which was led by Brian Robinson and Mickey McAvoy, sought to take the cash they found on site, which they hope would be in the region of �3m. Thanks for inside information from a security guard that worked there called Anthony Black, the gang gained access to the warehouse and extracted the safe combination from the guards by dousing them in petrol and threatening to light it. Once they opened the safe they found that in place of the expected money were 76 cases, containing 6,800 gold bars in addition to �100,000 worth of diamonds. The value of gold was around �26m, making what ensued the biggest UK bullion heist in history.

Moving the gold

Having first sought out an appropriate vehicle, the gang left the warehouse at around 8.15am after a near two hour operation. Their thoughts then turned to how to convert the gold bullion into cash. Into the scene came a notorious member of the criminal world known only as ‘The Fox’. ’The Fox’ facilitated a meeting between the gang and a crime syndicate well known to the police – the Adam’s family. The family turned to jeweller Solly Nahome, who agreed to oversee the sale of the melted gold bullion.

The investigation.

It was immediately apparent to the police that the gang must have had inside information and suspicion soon fell on Black. Black was brought in for questioning when enquiries turned up the fact that he was in relationship with the sister of Robinson – a criminal that they knew from past experience. Black soon gave up the names of Robinson and McAvoy, who had spent some of their ill-gotten gains on an estate in Kent. The two ring leaders realised that the game was up and admitted to the crime.

Outcome of the trial

McAvoy left his share of the gold with several friends, including Brian Perry, in the hope its return would mean he could negotiate a lighter sentence. When the time came to hand the gold bullion back over, Perry refused. The police also arrested him and he was eventually given a 9 year sentence for handing the gold. Perry was gunned down shortly after leaving prison in what was a suspected revenge attack for his refusal to hand the gold back. Robinson and McAvoy both received a 25 year prison sentence for their role in the heist. Although the attempt was ultimately unsuccessful, the UK gold bullion heist went down in history and much of the gold was never recovered.

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