The UK’s largest ever cash heist from Tonbridge Securitas

This disturbing tale of insiders, abductions and prosthetic disguises, remains as the UK’s biggest ever cash heist with almost £53 million being stolen from the Tonbridge Securitas depot.

 

Many of our readers will be well aware of the shocking robbery that took place in Tonbridge on 21st February 2006, which saw seven criminals steal £52,996,760 in used and unused sterling banknotes; but we are taking another brief look into the daring heist.

 

It began with a kidnapping on the evening of 21st February 2006 and ended in the early hours of 22nd February, and even though the gang temporarily walked away with almost £53 million, they left behind another £154 million due to not having the means to transport it.

 

The heist reads like a movie script, but the victims were real people going about their day to day lives, and unbeknownst to them, the gang carried out surveillance of the bank and placed an insider at the Tonbridge Securitas depot. The group then abducted the manager and his family, and the same night, fooled their way inside the building and tied up 14 workers at gunpoint; leaving with tens of millions of pounds.

 

Most of the getaway vehicles were found in the following week, with one of them containing £1.2 million in stolen notes. Further raids by Kent Police ended up recovering £9 million in Welling and £8 million in Southborough. By 2007, a total of 36 people had been arrested for their parts played in one of the world’s largest ever bank heists. Five people were convicted and received long sentences at a trial at the Old Bailey in 2007, including the inside man, Emir Hysenaj. A woman who made prosthetic disguises for the gang gave evidence in return for the charges against her being dropped. The alleged mastermind, Lee Murray, fled to Morocco with accomplice Paul Allen, but was extradited and jailed in 2008 and upon his release was shot and inured in 2019.

 

Tonbridge Securitas stopped the handling of cash and sold the depot to Vaultex, a company run by Barclays and HSBC. Even by 2016, £32 million of the stolen cash had not been recovered and several of the suspects were still at large. It is thought that the cash would have been quickly absorbed into organised crime networks.

 

This is one devastating heist the local community, and the UK as a whole, will not forget about anytime soon.

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