Page last updated at 13:34 GMT, Monday, 28 January 2008

How 10 hours of terror ticked by

The biggest cash robbery ever to take place in the UK began to unfold on the evening of Tuesday 21 February 2006 and lasted into the early hours of Wednesday.

THE KIDNAPPING

1730 GMT: Manager Colin Dixon leaves the Securitas depot in Tonbridge, Kent, to drive home to Herne Bay.

1800 GMT: He stops for fuel at a filling station near Wrotham Heath and then continues on his way.

1830 GMT: Mr Dixon is pulled over by a car with blue flashing lights on the A249 near Stockbury.

Two bogus police officers bundle him into the back seat of another car, where he is handcuffed and driven away at speed towards Tonbridge, with a gun to his head.

1900 GMT: The car stops at Mereworth. One of the kidnappers pulls out a gun and threatens Mr Dixon. He is put into a white Transit van, blindfolded and his legs are tied.

2000 GMT: Mr Dixon's wife, Lynn, puts their child to bed and begins to worry that her husband is not home yet.

2040 GMT: Two more bogus police officers in prosthetic masks ring the doorbell.

They tell Mrs Dixon her husband has been in a car crash and that they will take her to the hospital.

She wakes and dresses the child. They get into a car, where the kidnappers threaten to shoot them, and are driven away.

2100 GMT: The car stops in Brenley and mother and child are bundled into a red van with Parcel Force on the side.

THE RENDEZVOUS

1945 GMT: The kidnappers arrive with Mr Dixon at Elderden Farm, near Staplehurst.

Elderden Farm
The robbery is launched from Elderden Farm

2145 GMT: The gang question the Securitas depot manager about its layout, staff, alarms and CCTV.

2145 GMT: Mrs Dixon and the child arrive at Elderden Farm, where she is briefly reunited with her husband. He now knows the robbers also have his family.

The Dixon family ask for blankets but none arrive and they endure hours in freezing conditions.

0100 GMT: Mr Dixon is taken to a car and his wife and child to a 7.5-tonne lorry and driven separately to the Securitas depot.

0128 GMT: A convoy of vehicles, headed by the car containing Mr Dixon, arrives at the depot.

THE ROBBERY

0128 GMT - 0234 GMT: One of the robbers, dressed as a policeman in a high-visibility jacket and a cap, and with Mr Dixon beside him, is let in.

Colin Dixon and one of the robbers on CCTV (Picture from Kent Police)
Colin Dixon is let into the depot with a robber disguised as a policeman

Other robbers enter the depot with guns and tie up 14 terrified depot workers, forcing them to lie or crouch on the floor.

Metal cages, holdalls and a shopping trolley filled with used notes are put on to the lorry in the loading bay. Loose bundles of 20 notes are also thrown in - a total of 53m.

Another 153m has to be left behind because there is no room left in the vehicle.

THE GETAWAY

0234 GMT: The Dixon family and the 14 Securitas employees are forced into empty metal cages and locked in.

Cages with handcuffs still attached (Picture from Kent Police)
The child wriggled out of the metal cages to raise the alarm

The first of the gang members drive away in the lorry, warning the captives "We know where you live", and returns to Elderden Farm, where the money is to be divided up.

0243 GMT: The other five robbers drive away in two cars.

The captives, some barely believing they are still alive, do nothing for some time.

They then try to get out of cages by bending the metal. Eventually the child wriggles through the bars and the alarm is raised.

0314 GMT: Mr Dixon sets off the alarm in his office.

0318 GMT: Police arrive to find the staff physically unhurt but deeply shocked by the ordeal described by Securitas as "brutal, horrific and traumatic".



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