22 Apr 2015

Hatton Garden jewellery heist: police release new pictures

Police have released a set of images showing how a gang of thieves managed to break into a vault and steal a haul of jewellery thought to be worth millions of pounds.

The images, released on Wednesday by Flying Squad detectives, show how the burglars drilled through the vault wall after making their way down the lift shaft between Thursday 2 April and the following Sunday.

They show the scene that officers found on arrival at the central London offices of Hatton Garden Safety Deposit Ltd.

One image shows the scene inside the vault, with ransacked safety deposit boxes strewn around and the hole used for access in the background.

Officers said they found the vault “covered in dust and debris”, while — besides the boxes – the floor was strewn with “numerous power tools, including an angle grinder, concrete drills and crowbars”.

Another image showed a close-up of the hole, which police said was made using a heavy duty drill – a Hilti DD350. It is 50cm deep, 25cm high, and 45cm wide; and sits 89cm from the floor, officers said.

Scotland Yard said that initial access to the vault was via the lift shaft. The thieves disabled a communal lift on the second floor and forced open shutter doors into the basement, before boring the holes into the vault wall.

According to police, there was no sign of forced entry to the outside of the building, which is home to various of businesses – all using a communal entrance. The safety deposit business is in the basement.

The investigators have “recorded, packaged and recovered approximately 400 exhibits, including items for DNA profiling, fingerprints and other evidence”.

Digital forensic specialists have recovered thousands of hours of CCTV footage and analysis of the material continues, they said.

There have been no arrests thus far.

Detective Superintendent Craig Turner, head of the Flying Squad said that forensic examination had now been completed.

“The hours of forensic work and inquiries have been vital in order to ensure we are able to exploit all investigative opportunities to their fullest extent and assist us in identifying those individuals responsible.

“We appreciate that this situation has been frustrating for those affected by this crime and thank those individuals for their ongoing patience and support.

“Those safety deposit boxes not opened by the thieves during the burglary have been left secured as they were found throughout the examination. HGSD are in the process of making contact with owners to arrange collection of it.

“Of the 72 boxes opened during the burglary, we have only been unable to make contact with six people who we believe have been a victim of crime. We continue to make efforts to trace them. “

Scotland Yard said that an internal investigation into why the initial call to police that an alarm had been sounded was not deemed sufficiently urgent to warrant a police response.

A spokesman said it was “too early to say if the handling of the call would have had an impact on the outcome of the incident”.