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Monday, 18 February, 2002, 15:17 GMT
Timeline: Dome diamond heist
Millennium Dome
Police caught the raiders red-handed at the Dome
BBC News Online plots how a London gang came close to pulling off the world's biggest jewellery theft from the Millennium Dome.


31 December, 1999 - The Millennium Star diamond is the centre of the Dome's opening celebration on New Year's Eve when at 10 minutes to midnight laser beams are fired at the gem, filling the Dome with sparkling shafts of light.

1 September, 2000 - One of the suspects visits the Dome with a video camera but is unaware that undercover police are also filming him.

7 September, 2000 - Dome chairman David James is told by police that there could be a raid and that there are certain "risk days" when it might happen.

6 November, 2000 - The diamonds are replaced with a set of fake crystals and the Dome is put on "a high state of alert".

Ninety armed officers are moved into and around the building.

The raid was to have taken place on this day but the speedboat skipper who was to have helped the gang escape across the River Thames said the tide was not right and it was postponed for 24 hours.

7 November, 2000 - The gang tries to steal the diamonds by crashing in to the Dome in a bulldozer.

Like something out of a James Bond movie, the raiders don gas masks and set off smoke bombs before attempting to break into the armoured diamond display with sledgehammers and a nail gun.

Media reports say the Dome has at last lived up to its self-styled billing for providing "One Amazing Day".

8 November, 2000 - Eight men from south east London, Kent and East Sussex are charged in connection with the botched raid.

13 November, 2000 - A ninth man is arrested and charged.

27 May, 2001 A further suspect, a 46-year-old London man, is arrested in Spain.

8 November, 2001 - Six men go on trial at the Old Bailey for the "robbery of the Millennium".

4 December, 2001 - The jurors at the trial are taken to visit the Dome.

10 December, 2001 - One of the defendants, Wayne Taylor, 35, of Tonbridge, Kent, is freed after being found not guilty of charges of conspiracy to rob and conspiracy to steal on the direction of Judge Michael Coombe.

18 February, 2002: Four of the men are found guilty of plotting to carry out the robbery.

A fifth is cleared of the robbery charge but found guilty of conspiracy to steal the diamonds.

Links to more England stories are at the foot of the page.


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