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1983: 25m gold heist at Heathrow
An armed gang has carried out Britain's largest ever robbery at London's Heathrow Airport.

Over 25m worth of gold bullion bound for the Far East was stolen from the Brinks Mat warehouse, about one mile (1.6km) outside the airport perimeter, between 0630 and 0815 GMT.

Police have said a group of at least six men overcame the guards and successfully disabled a huge array of electronic security devices.

Insurers have offered a reward of 2m for information leading to the recovery of the 6,800 gold bars - which are all identifiable by refiners' stamps.

The members of the gang - who were all armed and wearing balaclavas - also stole 100,000 worth of cut and uncut diamonds.

Inside information

They dressed in security uniforms to get into the warehouse and then terrorised the guards into giving them the alarm codes.

All the guards were handcuffed, one was hit on the head with a pistol and two had petrol poured over them.

Once inside the safes, the robbers used the warehouse's own forklift trucks to transport the 76 boxes of gold into a waiting van.

The alarm was raised by one of the guards at 0830 GMT after the gang had left.

Scotland Yard Flying Squad chief Commander Frank Cater is leading the hunt for the thieves.

He said he believed they had inside information and were a "highly professional team".

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The Brinks Mat warehouse just after the robbery
The Brinks Mat warehouse was just outside the airport perimeter

In Context
Police estimated 15 people were involved in the planning of the Brinks Mat robbery, but only three of the gang members were convicted.

Micky McAvoy and Brian Robinson were both jailed for 25 years in December 1984, and Kenneth Noye served 14 years for handling some of the stolen gold.

Noye was released in 1990, but 10 years later was convicted of murdering Stephen Cameron in a road-rage fight on the M25 and is now serving a life sentence.

Despite a huge police investigation most of the gold has never been recovered.

Stories From 26 Nov

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