Three men who were part of a conspiracy to steal £7 million have been sentenced to a total of 23 years in jail.
Mohammed Naheen Siddique, 32 and Ranjeev Singh, 40, both from Slough, staged a robbery on March 14 as part of a plot to steal 19 bags of cash due to be transported to the Bank of Ireland.
The pair were helped by Rafaqat Hussain, 41 and also from Slough, who was in regular contact with them on the day of the theft.
All three men were caught as the result of an investigation by the Met’s Flying Squad. They were sentenced today (Wednesday October 18) at Kingston Crown Court.
Siddique and Singh, who were both convicted after a three-week trial, were sentenced to six-and-a-half years’ imprisonment.
Hussain, who pleaded guilty to conspiracy to steal, conspiracy to burgle and conspiracy to commit money laundering at Kingston Crown Court on September 11, was sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment.
The court heard Siddique and Singh, who both worked for the cash handling company Loomis, were tasked with picking up £7 million in cash from the British Airways cargo depot at Heathrow Airport.
Analysis of CCTV footage revealed that, shortly after the money was picked up at 8.30am, the Loomis van pulled over outside the security gates to allow Singh to use the toilet.
This was an unauthorised stop and against all Loomis protocols and instructions, which stated that if an operative needed such a stop then he/she should call into the control centre so that closer monitoring of the van could occur.
While Singh was in the toilet, Siddique drove off and then parked it a short distance away in West View, Feltham.
Singh took 20 minutes to raise the alarm with his employer and, when asked whether he had tried to contact Siddique, he said he did not have his phone.
The delay in alerting the Loomis control centre enabled Siddique, who was helped by another man, to unload the bags of cash into a white Transit van parked in West View.
In order to create the impression of a robbery, Siddique’s hands and ankles were bound with cable ties and he was left on a service road near the M40 in Buckinghamshire. Siddique was later found by a member of the public at 11.15am.
Flying Squad detectives arrested Singh and Siddique after suspicions were raised by Singh’s inexplicable delay in raising the alarm and Siddique’s inconsistent account of what had happened.
During an interview in which he was being treated as a witness, Siddique claimed the theft had been organised by a man who had threatened to burn his house down.
However, analysis of a mobile phone found on Singh - despite his claims that he didn’t have one - revealed that it had been used to call Siddique during the period the cash was stolen.
The phone cell analysis also revealed Rafaqat Hussain, who has pleaded guilty to the conspiracy to steal, had been in regular contact with Singh on the day of the theft.
Flying Squad detectives established that Hussain had called a recovery driver at 9.24am on the day of the theft and the white Ford transit van, parked a short distance from Hussain’s house, had been loaded on to a vehicle transporter and taken to a nearby recycling centre where it was scrapped.
Hussain’s wife Razvana Zeib was arrested and charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering after investigations revealed £900,000 had been transferred to a Pakistani bank account opened in her name.
Zeib and another defendant, Gary Carrod, were also charged with conspiracy to burgle after a house in Stoke Poges, which Hussain was planning to buy, was burgled and ransacked in an attempt to reduce the price.
Carrod, 33 and of Taplow, who pleaded guilty to conspiracy to burgle at Kingston Crown Court on September 11, has been sentenced to three-and-a-half years’ imprisonment.
Zeib, 35 and of Slough, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to burgle and conspiracy to commit money laundering at Kingston Crown Court on September 11. She will be sentenced at a later date.
Detective chief inspector Mark Bedford, of the Met’s Flying Squad, said: "The sentences handed to these defendants today reflect the high value of the monies stolen, the meticulous planning involved and the complete breach of trust by Siddique and Singh, without whom the offence would not have been possible.
"These sentences should act as a deterrent to anyone considering committing this type of offence."