Page last updated at 12:42 GMT, Saturday, 18 April 2009 13:42 UK

Robber Biggs in prison parole bid

Ronnie Biggs
Ronnie Biggs is serving a 30-year prison sentence

Great Train robber Ronnie Biggs is applying for parole next week in the hope he can be released before his 80th birthday, his son has said.

Biggs, from Lambeth, London, is currently being held at Norwich Prison but a Parole Board meeting on Thursday will consider his release.

He was a member of the 15-strong gang which attacked a mail train at Ledburn, Buckinghamshire, on 8 August 1963.

The heist became known as the Great Train Robbery.

They made off with £2.6m - a record haul at the time - but were captured shortly afterwards.

After being given a 30-year sentence, Biggs escaped from Wandsworth Prison, south London, in a furniture van after spending 15 months in jail.

If other people are entitled to get parole, why shouldn't my father? He represents no threat to society
Ronnie Biggs' son Michael

He was on the run for more than 30 years, living in Spain, Australia and Brazil, before returning to the UK voluntarily in 2001.

His son, Michael, 34, said he was "hopeful" that his father would be freed on 3 July - in time to celebrate his 80th birthday on 8 August, exactly 46 years on from robbery.

"The meeting is being held next Thursday," said Michael.

"We are hopeful that he will be freed but we're trying not to count on the egg before it leaves the chicken.

"I think it's the obvious thing to do. If other people are entitled to get parole, why shouldn't my father? He represents no threat to society."

Michael said the planned release date would be 3 July - if his bid was accepted by the Parole Board at the St George's Day meeting.

In February, Biggs was taken to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital suffering from pneumonia.

It was the latest in a series of health problems he has suffered.

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