Detectives charge ageing suspects over London heist

20th May 2015, Comments 0 comments

British police investigating a brazen robbery in London's jewellery district charged eight ageing men with conspiracy to burgle on Wednesday.

The gang of eight had an average age of 61, including two men aged 74 and 76 and a father and son team.

Scotland Yard arrested nine men on Tuesday over the Hatton Garden heist last month, in which the thieves made off with tens of millions of pounds (dollars, euros) of diamonds, jewels and cash from safe deposit boxes.

One man was bailed pending further inquiries.

As the suspects were quizzed in police custody in London, the media revealed details of their identities which would not be out of place in a film about British gangsters from the 1970s.

Those charged included Brian Reader, a secondhand car dealer from Dartford in Kent, outside London, and his 50-year-old son who bears the same name but is commonly known as Paul.

Several media outlets published a black and white photo of a man with a steady gaze and a thick moustache -- purportedly the older Reader in the 1980s.

Another suspect was reported to be Hugh Doyle, a 48-year-old plumber from Enfield in north London. Neighbours said he seemed nice but was "a bit flash".

The relatively advanced ages of the suspects prompted The Sun tabloid to ask whether the heist was intended to create a retirement fund for the gang.

Police said they had recovered "significant amounts of high value property" from one address as they conducted raids across the capital on Tuesday morning, in a major operation involving more than 200 officers.

Harry Levy, president of the London Diamond Bourse trade association, which is based in the Hatton Garden area, said he was "delighted" that some of the stolen jewels might be found.

"I was quite shocked by the whole thing and I've been quite sceptical about recovery of any property," he told BBC radio.

"I was absolutely delighted when I heard yesterday that... they had recovered quite a substantial amount of, as they put it, high value property."

The eight men are due to appear before Westminster Magistrates Court on Friday.

© 2015 AFP

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