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Wednesday, 19 December, 2001, 14:58 GMT
Dome raid suspect 'confessed'
JCB digger
The court has been told the men used a JCB
One of five men accused of plotting to steal diamonds from the Millennium Dome confessed to police, the Old Bailey has heard.

Robert Adams allegedly told officers he had been looking forward to a "blinding Christmas" until police swooped on the gang.

His comments came in a statement by forensic officer Brian McNamara, which was read out to the court by prosecuting lawyers on Wednesday.

According to the statement, Mr Adams told Mr McNamara: "I cannot believe it. I almost had it in my hand. I was going to have a blinding Christmas."

Mr Adams is said to have made the comments when McNamara went to take samples from him to test for signs of firearms residue.

Millennium Star diamond
The men are accused of trying to steal diamonds worth 200m
Mr McNamara said Mr Adams was extremely talkative and had asked why he was being tested, as the gang did not have any weapons with them, only sledgehammers.

"I cannot believe how easily the glass went. I only hit it twice," he allegedly said.

Mr Adams, 57, of no fixed address, along with Aldo Ciarrocchi, 31, of Balaclava Road, Bermondsey; William Cockran, 48, of Catford, both south east London, and Raymond Betson, 39, of Chatham, Kent, all deny conspiracy to rob but admit the lesser charge of conspiring to steal.

Kevin Meredith, 34, of Auckland Drive, Brighton, East Sussex, denies both conspiring to rob and conspiring to steal.

The prosecution alleges the gang intended to snatch diamonds valued at 200m from the De Beers Millennium Diamond Exhibition on 7 November last year.

It said they plotted to smash their way in on an earthmover and escape by speedboat to the north bank of the Thames.

But it says armed police swooped and arrested the gang as they tried to break through the three-quarter inch armoured plated glass vault containing the Millennium Star and the Millennium Blue Diamonds.

The jury was told to acquit a sixth man, Wayne Taylor, last week.

Judge Michael Coombe said there was no evidence that Mr Taylor had been involved in the plot.

The trial continues.

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