The eight men accused of the Hatton Garden jewellery heist have been remanded in custody until next month after appearing in court today amidst a heavy police presence.
The men, Paul Reader, 50, and his father Brian Reader, who at 76 is the oldest of the group dubbed the "diamond weezers"; Hugh Doyle, 48, of Enfield; Carl Wood, 58, of Cheshunt, Hertfordshire, and Daniel Jones of Enfield, also 58; William Lincoln, 59, of Bethnal Green; Terry Perkins, 67, of Enfield and John Collins, 74, also from north London, all faced a charge of conspiracy to burgle.
The charge states that together, between April 1 and May 19 this year, the group conspired to enter as a trespasser a building, namely The Hatton Garden Safety Deposit at 88-90 Hatton Gardens EC1, with intent to steal.
A drawing of the eight men accused over the Hatton Garden jewellery heist during their brief court appearance today
The group, who were arrested in raids in London and Kent on Tuesday, are due to appear at Southwark Crown Court on June 4.
A ninth man arrested with them was earlier bailed "pending further inquiries", police said.
Detectives yesterday sought an extension to continue holding the men while they made further appeals for information about the whereabouts of what is thought to have been their getaway vehicle, a Transit van.
Armed police blocked streets today ahead of the appearance in court of eight men charged in relation to the Hatton Garden jewellery heist
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.
Brian Reader, 76, is the oldest of the eight charged men and was arrested along with his son Paul, 50, and six other men
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 raid.
Paul Reader, 50, has also been charged, he is pictured above with his mother Lynne in 1985
The men are all being spoken to at a London police station.
Hugh Doyle of Enfield, takes a selfie next to a plane; the 48-year-old is due in court today charged with conspiracy to burgle
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 acknowledged Tuesday 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.
Police want to hear from anyone who saw this white Transit van being loaded or unloaded around the Hatton Garden jewellers during Easter weekend
"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.
The thieves are believed to have emptied 72 safety deposit boxes of gold, jewellery and cash worth around £60 million
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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