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Two security guards have been jailed after staging a 7 million fake robbery from their own cash-in-transit van outside Heathrow Airport. One of the pair was found several hours later tied up and left by a roadside, with the van abandoned and the cash missing in a bid to make it look like the two men were victims. Loomis employees Mohammad Siddique, 32, and Ranjeev Singh, 40, were each jailed for six-and-a-half years after they were found guilty of conspiracy to steal at Kingston Crown Court earlier in October.
Another man, Rafaqat Hussain, who helped Siddique and Singh organise the heist, and was said to be “at the heart of the conspiracy”, was sentenced for 10 years and three months after pleading guilty in September to helping stage the robbery, launder the money and commit burglary. The money has never been recovered. During the trial, prosecutor Sandip Patel QC said the “audacious theft” was worthy of a Hollywood script and “carefully planned and executed”.
“It was an audacious theft carefully planned and executed and you may think it would make a Hollywood movie script, they would call it the ‘Heathrow Heist’ if anyone wanted to write a script about it.”
How the heist unfolded
On March 14, a security van was loaded with 26 bags of cash belonging to Credit Suisse at the BA cargo depot at Heathrow Airport. Siddique drove it out of the security gates of the depot with Singh in the passenger seat. He then stopped the vehicle to allow Singh to take what was claimed to be a toilet break.
Siddique then drove off with the 7million in cash. Singh waited inside the toilet block for some time before raising the alarm. He claimed he could not contact anyone earlier as he had left his mobile phone in the vehicle.
The security van was later found abandoned with its engine still running in West View, Feltham, while Siddique was found a few hours later tied up and left by a roadside. When questioned by police he said he had been contacted weeks before the robbery by an unknown man at his home. He claimed the man threatened to burn his home down and forced him to take part in the plan.
Mobile phones revealed conspiracy links
Although Singh claimed he left his mobile phone in the van before it was driven off, it emerged he had a second phone all along, stored in his jacket pocket, which he used to speak to Siddique while he was in the toilet. Mobile phone data was also presented by the prosecution to the court to show that Siddique had been in contact with his co-conspirators on the day of the heist and was directly involved. Secret recordings made by a device planted by police in Hussain’s car caught him admitting “I had all the cash, 7 million” and also heard him boast that he could buy any car he wanted with the stolen cash.
He said: “Mate it was a job, I f****** robbed 7 million.
“I want to lie low, I could buy a Ferrari, I want to chill for about six months, buy a couple of houses, flip them and make a bit of money.”
Sentencing the pair at Kingston Crown Court, Judge Stephen John told Siddique and Singh they “must now pay the price” after playing “for high stakes”. He called the staged robbery “a sophisticated operation which involved meticulous planning and execution”, in which Siddique and Singh “played (their) parts to perfection”. The court heard there are more people involved in the case that have not been identified.
Prosecutor Sandip Patel QC said someone with inside information would have been involved, Hussain knew that Siddique and Singh had been “assigned the Credit Suisse run well before they were officially told at around 7.15am that morning” after calling Siddique at 5.42am to make it clear that would be the day of the heist. A further man, Garry Carrod, was jailed for three-and-a-half years after pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit burglary. He and Hussain, along with Hussain’s wife Razvana Zeib, both of Chadwick Road, Slough, organised a house they wanted to buy with their share of the 7 million to be ransacked in an attempt to bring down the price.
An 88-year-old woman was selling the house to fund a place in a care home, but after it was flooded and vandalised, with windows broken, her failure to tell insurers she was not living there at the time of the burglary meant they failed to pay out. Carrod, 34, from Taplow, Buckinghamshire, has 74 previous convictions, including one for conspiracy to steal vehicles with Hussain, who has 64 previous offences to his name. Hussain’s wife Zeib, 35, will be sentenced at a later date after she plead guilty to conspiracy to money launder and commit burglary.
Deemed to be one of the biggest robbery plots in British history, the pair who worked for cash handling company Loomis abused their positions in an attempt to make off in a security van loaded with 19 bags of cash, on March 14 this year.
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The pair were caught as the result of an investigation by the Metropolitan Police’s Flying Squad unit. CCTV recordings revealed shortly after the money was picked up at 8.30am, the van pulled over outside the security gates and Singh took a toilet break.
Former security guard Ranjeev Singh of Grampian Way, Slough both found guilty of conspiracy to steal (Image: Metropolitan Police)
However this was an unauthorised stop and against company protocols that deem any such stop to be called into the control centre so the van can be closely monitored. Siddique drove off on his own and, with the help of another man, unloaded the bags into a white transit van parked in West View, Feltham , where the security van was later found abandoned.
Former security guard Mohammad Siddique of Belgrave Road, Slough found guilty of conspiracy to steal (Image: Metropolitan Police)
A total of 19 bags of cash totalling 7m were missing from the vehicle. Siddique was found hours later, by a member of the public, his hands and ankles bound with cable ties and left on a service roads near the M40 in Buckinghamshire. Both men were arrested after Singh’s delay in alerting the control centre and Siddique’s inconsistent account of what happened.
When questioned by police as a victim, Siddique said he had been contacted weeks before by an unknown man who threatened to burn his house down.
Police reconstruction of how the 7m bags of Loomis cash would have looked (Image: Metropolitan Police)
However prosecution presented mobile phone data, from a cell found on Singh, which revealed it had been used to call Siddique during the time the cash was stolen. The phone analysis also revealed Rafaqat Hussain, 41, who previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to steal, had been in regular contact with Singh on the day of the theft. Flying Squad detectives established Hussain had called a recovery driver at 9.24am on the day of the theft and the white Ford transit van had been taken to a nearby recycling centre where it was scrapped.
Hussain s wife Razvana Zeib was arrested and charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering after investigations revealed 900,000 had been transferred to a Pakistani bank account opened in her name.
Cash was allegedly swapped between vans in West View, Feltham (Image: Google)
Zeib, Hussain and another defendant, Gary Carrod, had organised for a house they wanted to buy with their share of the proceeds to be ransacked and burgled in an attempt to bring down the price. Siddique of Belgrave Road, Slough and Singh, of Grampian Way, Slough were both found guilty of conspiracy to steal. Rafaqat Hussain of Chadwick Road, Slough pleaded guilty to conspiracy to steal, conspiracy to burgle and conspiracy to commit money laundering at Kingston Crown Court on Monday September 11.
Hussain’s wife Razvana Zeib, 35, also pleaded guilty to conspiracy to burgle and conspiracy to commit money laundering at Kingston Crown Court on the same day.
Rafaqat Hussain of Chadwick Road, Slough pleaded guilty to conspiracy to steal, conspiracy to burgle and conspiracy to commit money laundering (Image: Metropolitan Police)
Gary Carrod, 34 of Nursery Road, Taplow, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to burgle at Kingston Crown Court on Monday September 11. Detective Chief Inspector Mark Bedford, of the Met s Flying Squad, said: Although this was an organised theft involving months of planning, it would not have been possible without the calculating and devious actions of Singh and Siddique who abused their positions to subvert the secure processes put in place to prevent this type of offence.
The pair attempted to present themselves as victims of a robbery even going so far as arranging for Siddique to be tied up and left by a motorway to be found by innocent members of the public.
However, a swift and thorough investigation by the Flying Squad uncovered their lies, led to their accomplices being identified and ensured their successful conviction at court.
Razvana Zeib, 35, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to burgle and conspiracy to commit money laundering (Image: Metropolitan Police)
Both men are now likely to receive substantial custodial sentences reflecting their calculated abuse of their employer’s trust and the value of the monies stolen. The money from Credit Suisse bank was bound for the Bank of Ireland.
Helen Shaw from the CPS added: “Ranjeev Singh, Mohammad Siddique and Rafaqat Hussain staged this theft to steal 7m which has still not been recovered, crafting a plan to make it appear that they were victims.
Gary Carrod, 34 of Nursery Road, Taplow, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to burgle (Image: Metropolitan Police)
Their elaborate plot quickly unravelled when inconsistencies in their story became apparent.
The prosecution used interrogation of mobile phone records and CCTV evidence to highlight the lies they told police, leading to today’s convictions.”
They will all be sentenced Wednesday October 18.
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ACTION is being taken to try to prevent vandals breaking into a historic New Forest hotel and wrecking the ornate interior.
It follows a spate of incidents in which hooligans have destroyed a large number of fixtures and fittings.
The hotel, which dominates the eastern entrance to the village, closed in 2014 with the loss of more than 20 jobs.
As the complex continued to stand empty, vandals started smashing their way in and wrecking the rooms.
Two months ago conservationists said a priceless stained-glass window installed in the 19th century was among the items that had been destroyed.
Now more of the windows have been boarded up, including those on the upper floors .
In some cases metal sheeting or the original glass has been replaced with wood.
In a letter to Lyndhurst Parish Council, Police Inspector Katherine Willoughby says: My understanding is that PegasusLife withdrew the 24/7 security once the planning application had been declined.
We have requested that further security is put back on and that the premises are secured with more thorough boarding.
Parish councillors are waiting to see if PegasusLife will lodge an appeal against the NPA s decision or submit a revised scheme.
Speaking last month Grant Drummond, development director for the site, responded to concerns by saying the company was doing everything it could to protect the site.
He said: We are in regular contact with the police and have reported all break-ins that we ve become aware of.
Our security company has detained people on site and passed details of people and vehicles to the police and this has resulted in at least one arrest.
We re taking every practicable measure to minimise opportunities for unlawful access.
Asked about the latest attempts to protect the site a company spokesman said: We currently have 24/7 security with two guards and have installed a welfare unit for them.
A Hampshire Police spokesman added: We attended a partnership meeting about this issue and security at the site has been improved.