A former London police chief says a fire near the city centre last week could be linked to the massive £200 million ($US300m) jewellery heist that happened over Easter. Scotland Yard was alerted to a theft at Hatton Garden Safe Deposit on Tuesday. Hatton Garden is the capital’s jewellery quarter and is close to Holborn, where the fire broke out.
The raid happened over the Easter weekend and is the biggest in British history, the Telegraph notes. Thieves may have stolen a record haul of diamonds after breaking into a vault at a safe deposit centre. Lots of jewellers left their stocks there over Easter and a Hatton Garden insider said the £200 million figure is made up of diamonds, jewels, and cash.
The thieves carried out the heist with alarming, movie-quality professionalism: They are thought to have tunnelled their way into a lift shaft at Hatton Garden when it was closed for the Easter holidays. They then abseiled down to the vault and smashed their way in, according to Reuters.
John O’Connor was the head of Scotland Yard’s Flying Squad, which is a branch that deals with specialist, organised crime. He told LBC radio station on Wednesday that he believes the fire, which began on Wednesday, April 1, last week, could be linked to the robbery.
He told LBC: “Yeah, I think that probably was deliberate. I’ve never heard of an outage of electricity like that causing a fire that lasted as long as that. That seems to me as too much of a coincidence.” O’Connor added that it’s likely that whoever is behind the raid had inside information and probably had access to a “detailed layout” of Hatton Garden’s floor plans and security.
The fire O’Connor believes might be linked to the theft caused widespread disruption across the London Borough of Camden. It began as an electrical fire on Wednesday, April 1, in underground service tunnels and was fuelled by a gas leak, and lasted 36 hours, according to the BBC. There were still problems over the Bank Holiday break, which ended Monday, April 6. The jewellery theft took place on Friday April 3, one day after the fire, according to Reuters.
Police are investigating the robbery, according to The Telegraph, and right now there are a number of theories about what actually happened. It’s feared the true value of all that was taken will never been fully identified.
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