Page last updated at 21:14 GMT, Tuesday, 28 February 2006

Lorry recovered after 53m raid

The lorry recovered in Kent by raid detectives
A lorry was recovered that matched the truck caught on CCTV

A lorry thought to have been used in the 53m Securitas raid has been found by police in Kent.

The vehicle fitting the description of a truck caught on CCTV is being examined by forensic experts.

Of 12 people arrested, including a woman on Monday, five are still being questioned after police were given a further 24 hours to hold them.

Searches at farmland in west Kent, believed to be linked to the armed robbery in Tonbridge, are continuing.

The grassland and buildings in Chart Hill Road, Staplehurst, were surrounded by police vehicles on Tuesday.

The farm near Staplehurst covers a large area

Officers could be seen walking along in formation conducting a fingertip search of the undergrowth.

Kent Police initially refused to confirm that the operation was in connection with the heist.

About a dozen police vehicles were parked around the farmland, one of them blocking a lane leading to some of the buildings.

Examinations of several vehicles in the farm grounds could also be seen taking place.

Police activity

The landlord of the Lord Raglan pub, Andrew Hutchinson, said police activity had begun in Staplehurst on Sunday night.

Map showing Staplehurst, Herne Bay, Stockbury and Tonbridge in Kent
Staplehurst: Police searching farm
Herne Bay: Where heist began with depot manager's wife and son kidnapped from home
Stockbury: Depot manager kidnapped from his car
Tonbridge: Cash depot raided by gang

"We had two police cars in our car park, but yesterday [Monday] there was the most activity," said Mr Hutchinson.

Securitas said on Wednesday that staff had been subjected to "high levels of duress and intimidation" in the robbery and subsequent police investigation.

Paul Fullicks, security manager, said staff, who suffered shock and minor abrasions from being tied up, had described their ordeal as "brutal, horrific and traumatic".

They shared Mr Dixon's anger about the frightening ordeal inflicted on his wife and son, he added.

The company has brought in counsellors to help staff and has launched its own internal investigation into the circumstances surrounding the robbery, Mr Fullicks said.

Other leads

Earlier on Tuesday, police released photos of cars similar to those involved in the kidnap of depot manager Colin Dixon, in the hope they would jog the memories of potential witnesses.

Farmhouse in Staplehurst
Police vehicles surrounded farmland and buildings in west Kent

Mr Dixon and his wife and young son were kidnapped last Tuesday before the gang of robbers got away with their haul from the Securitas premises in Vale Road, Tonbridge.

Kent Police also said officers from neighbouring Sussex Police were helping to investigate other leads across the South East.

Last Friday, 1.3m of the raiders' haul was recovered from a Ford Transit van at Ashford International Hotel.

Forensic tests have also been carried out on weapons and a number of vehicles.

A total of 12 people have been arrested in connection with the robbery - seven have been bailed while four men and one woman are being questioned.

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Aerial pictures of the farmland being searched by police

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