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Last Updated: Tuesday, 28 February 2006, 16:59 GMT
2m reward shows solving crime can pay
CCTV picture of the lorry (from Kent Police)
The 7.5 tonne lorry used by the robbers was caught on CCTV
A 2m reward is on offer for information following the robbery at the Securitas depot in Kent - but anyone hoping to get their hands on the money will need to wait before embarking on a major spending spree.

Police say more than 1,300 people have called their incident room since a gang escaped with 53,116,760 in the early hours of 22 February.

As is customary when a reward is put up after a crime, any pay-out will not be made until the end of a trial.

And in the case of the Tonbridge raid - in line with all major robberies - Securitas and its insurers would insist that certain criteria were met before parting with the full 2m.

Chief among their aims is to secure the return of the stolen cash and the convictions of those responsible for the robbery.

And if several people end up providing breakthrough information?

"Some kind of independent assessment of the value of information provided by each party will take place," a Securitas spokesman said.

Motives

According to Roy Ramm, the former head of Scotland Yard's Flying Squad, the crime victims "and insurers discuss with police the amount of reward that is likely to bring information forward".

Each case is carefully assessed on its merits
Roy Ramm
Former Flying Squad chief

"When police receive information they make a report to the insurers about the quality of the information, its direct relevance to the success of the operation and whether there are any factors which should be taken into account," he told the BBC News website.

The ultimate decision on the amount paid to any individual lies in the hands of Securitas and its insurers.

"Each case is carefully assessed on its merits," said Mr Ramm.

For instance, a member of the public who comes forward could receive more of a reward than a criminal who may have other motives for providing information.

Code number

Neither the Home Office or Association of Chief Police Officers have guidelines on how rewards should be administered.

The charity Crimestoppers offers up to 10,000 for people who give information about cases and has paid out more than 1m since its launch in 1988.

The white Ford Transit van
Bundles of money were found in a Transit van after the raid

Callers to its phone line remain anonymous and if they wish to claim a reward are provided with a code number.

When legal proceedings come to an end, Crimestoppers reward payments may be authorised.

Callers collect their reward money in cash at a specified bank branch by quoting their code number.

But less than 3% of people end up seeking the reward they are entitled to, says Crimestoppers.

Tax-free

People with information about the Securitas raid can call Crimestoppers' phone line, although it is not involved in administering the reward.

Information provided to Crimestoppers would be passed on to Kent Police, but anyone wanting to be considered for a reward would be advised to contact the force directly.

Recipients of rewards are unlikely to be liable to tax.

HM Revenue & Customs said only if information was offered in return for a reward, would it taxable.

A reward would not be taxable if it amounted to a "gratuitous" payment for information.

And while reward recipients often take no part in court proceedings and remain an anonymous aspect of the case, police tend not to promise payments for fear of damaging the integrity of any who might be witnesses and give evidence.


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