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Monday, 11 February, 2002, 20:16 GMT
Heathrow's latest heist
Planes at Heathrow
Robbers escaped with $6.5m from Heathrow on Monday
The $6.5m heist at Heathrow is the latest in a series of daring raids at Europe's busiest airport.

Most notorious, and Britain's largest robbery, was the Brinks Mat bullion raid in 1983.

Then, a six-strong gang burst into the gold bullion warehouse near Heathrow and doused a security guard in petrol before threatening to set him alight.

Police investigate the Brinks Mat raid
Much of the gold from the Brinks Mat raid was never found
They got away with 26m in gold and although the gang members were brought to justice, most of the stolen bullion has never been recovered.

It is claimed that anyone wearing gold jewellery bought in the UK after 1983 is probably wearing Brinks Mat gold.

Other raids at the airport have seen different levels of success for the criminals and varying degrees of notoriety.

  • In January 2000, a stowaway tried to pull off a mid-air Great Plane Robbery by hiding in the hold of a British Airways 767 plane from Madrid to Heathrow. He broke into trunks used to transport banknotes but was caught by baggage handler on landing and fled.

  • Last year, a 100,000 reward was offered for information on the theft of mobile phones worth 2m. Robbers took the Nokia 8850 phones after kidnapping two security men from a Heathrow warehouse.

  • In March 2000, a daring jewel heist only failed when robbers raided the wrong van after driving unchallenged to the cargo hold of a Cathay Pacific jet. The gang fled unaware that the haul they sought had been stowed on another van waiting nearby.

  • Last July a batch of the anti-impotence drug Viagra with a black market value of 12m was taken from Heathrow. It went missing in the terminal complex while being transported from Belgium to Puerto Rico.

  • In 1999, a cleaning firm at the centre of an alleged security breach at Heathrow airport had all passes for temporary employees withdrawn after an undercover newspaper reporter claimed to have been given one.

See also:

11 Feb 02 | England
Millions stolen from Heathrow
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