1983: Biggest robbery in the history of British crime

The Brinks-Mat robbery was the biggest heist in the history of British crime.

The audacious robbery occurred at the Heathrow International Trading Estate, London, on 26 November 1983.

The haul was £26,369,778 worth of gold, platinum, diamonds and travellers’ cheques. Even allowing for inflation, that far exceeded the sums stolen in the Great Train Robbery of 1963.

The bullion was the property of Johnson Matthey Bankers Ltd, which collapsed the following year after making large loans to frauds and insolvent firms.

Two men were convicted, and the majority of the gold has never been recovered.

Insurers Lloyd’s of London paid out for the losses. Several deaths have been linked to the case, and there are links to the Hatton Garden safe deposit burglary in April 2015.

Before the Heathrow raid the largest robbery known to police in Britain was the theft of nine certificates of deposit worth £10 million from the London offices of the Bank of Sepah- Iran in December, 1982.

The world record holder is the theft of securities from the Berlin Reichsbank in the closing stages of World War Two. Certificates with present-day value of £2500 million were taken by a gang believed to contain soldiers from the conquering US Army.