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Last Updated: Tuesday, 26 April, 2005, 13:54 GMT 14:54 UK
Bernie and the Great Train Robber
Bernie Ecclestone

Bernie Ecclestone has admitted hiring a Great Train Robber to give him a helping hand with a valuable trophy.

Don't worry though, folks - the deal was all above board and Ecclestone won't be joining Ronnie Biggs in a 10-stretch at Belmarsh any time soon.

The Formula One supremo decided to put the record straight following unfounded rumours linking him to the notorious Great Train Robbery.

It was suggested Ecclestone may have been the brains behind the job, which netted 2.5m back in 1963 - the equivalent of 40m today.

"I could have done something better than that," he told the Independent newspaper. "There wasn't enough money on that train.

"That rumour came from the fact Roy James, the guy who drove the getaway car, had been a racing driver. That's why they wanted him.

"Anyway, Roy was very friendly with Graham Hill, and when he came out of prison, he asked me for a job.

"I owned Brabham at the time, but I wasn't going to let him drive for me. Instead, I gave him a trophy to make; he'd also been a silversmith and a goldsmith.

"That's still the trophy we give to the promoters each year. He made it. The recipients don't realise that."

They do now.

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