UK

Hatton Garden Heist Police To Get More Time To Question 'Diamond Weezers' After Arrests

20/05/2015 10:56 BST | Updated 20/05/2015 11:59 BST

Police are expected to get 12 more hours to question the Hatton Garden heist suspects dubbed the "Diamond Weezers" as they appeal for sightings of a Transit van the men are believed to have used to move their multi-million pound bounty.

Following raids in Kent and London police yesterday arrested nine men, including three pensioners, aged 67, 74 and 76. The eldest of the men has been named as Brian Reader, a second hand car dealer, who was arrested at his £850,000 Dartford home along with his son Paul, 50.

Another member of the arrested group was plumber Hugh Doyle, 58, who was nabbed at his Enfield, north London, home, the Daily Mail reports.

brian reader

Brian Reader, 76, was one of nine men arrested for the Hatton Garden heist, including his son Paul, 50

The group are said to have been dubbed 'Dad's Army' and the 'Diamond Weezers' by arresting officers and The Sun reports that detectives are investigating whether the heist was a last "pension fund" raid to aide their retirements.

Following the arrests police released a CCTV image of a Transit van, registration DU53 VNG, which was seen near Hatton Garden Safe Deposit Ltd during the long weekend.

Detective Superintendent Craig Turner, Head of the Flying Squad, said police wanted to hear from witnesses who may have seen "anyone loading or unloading" the van near the crime scene.

Dept Supt Turner said police had not yet recovered the van and would also like to hear from anyone who knew its whereabouts.

Some 200 officers were involved in the arrests about 10.30am and recovered a number of "large bags containing significant amounts of high value property" which officers were "confident" came from the Easter weekend heist.

The men are all being spoken to at a London police station.

hatton garden

Police want to hear from anyone who saw this white Transit van being loaded or unloaded around the Hatton Garden jewellers during Easter weekend

Officers last month offered a £20,000 reward leading to the arrest and conviction of those involved. A Met spokesperson would not comment Wednesday on whether that incentive led to officers receiving a tip-off that led to the arrests.

During the heist the gang ransacking 72 safety deposit boxes, escaping with gold, jewels and cash believed to be worth more than £60 million.

Police yesterday acknowledged that their systems had failed when they chose not to respond to an intruder alarm that was set off at the Hatton Garden jewellers shortly after midnight on the Friday. A call was received by the force's Computer Aided Dispatch system from the security company but no police response was deemed necessary.

The Met said: "On this occasion our call handling system and procedures for working with the alarm monitoring companies were not followed.

charlotte leslie

Police will today extent the holding period for the nine arrested over the Hatton Garden jewellery heist

"Our normal procedures would have resulted in police attending the scene, and we apologise that this did not happen.

"In this case, the owners had been notified by the alarm company and a security guard attended the building but saw nothing more than our officers would have done had they been deployed."

Police were now "working closely" with the alarm industry to improve call handling and response processes "to ensure

nothing like this happens again", the statement said.

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Hatton Garden jewellery heist

The Met added that a more detailed investigation into the "defeat of the alarm system" is ongoing and the lessons learned would be shared with the business community.

Met Commander Spindler said those investigating the crime had been "portrayed as if we've acted like 'Keystone Cops', but that was not the case. The officers involved, he said, had acted in "the finest traditions of Scotland Yard" and had done their utmost to "bring justice for the victims of this callous crime".

He added: "They have worked tirelessly and relentlessly. They have put their lives on hold over the last six or seven weeks to make sure that justice is served and they have exemplified the finest attributes of Scotland Yard detectives. We will be releasing further information throughout the next 24 hours.”

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