Hatton Garden heist ringleader seen after release from jail as loot worth millions missing



Hatton Garden heist ringleader Danny Jones enjoys a stroll after being released from prison with two-thirds of his £14m still unrecovered.

Jones, 66, looked fit and relaxed after completing three sentences in the wake of the 2015 hole-in-the-wall raid.

He got seven years for the robbery and another three years in 2018 for an earlier raid on a Mayfair jewelry store.

Jones was given another six years and 287 days for failing to pay more than $6 million he is said to have made from the Hatton Garden heist.

Police say two-thirds of the stolen cash and jewelry remain unrecovered.

CCTV of the heist, which was shown in court
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By March 2020, Jones had paid out £548,218.47 after elderly criminals were hit with one of the largest criminal warrant payouts in British history.

He was released from HMP Hollesley Bay this week and was seen enjoying his freedom near his home in Enfield, north London.

His release means Michael “Basil the Ghost” Seed, 60, and John “Kenny”

Collins, 81, are the only two members of the gang who remain in jail.

Mastermind Brian Reader, 82, was released after serving three years in 2018.

A judge later ruled that his insanity meant he didn’t have to go back in for not paying back the stolen millions.

Broken safe deposit boxes are displayed in the underground vault of the Hatton Garden Safe Deposit Company
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Reader is understood to still be living at home in Dartford, southeast London.

Fellow ringleader Terry Perkins died in prison in 2018 at age 69.

Jones, played by Ray Winstone and Phil Daniels in two crime movies, led police to a stash of jewelry hidden in a graveyard saying “that’s all he had.”

He wrote to Martin Brunt on Sky News in 2015 saying he was taking police to the scene after admitting to a conspiracy to commit a robbery.

Unbeknownst to him, officers had found buried jewelry in the cemetery, but he took it to a separate, smaller stash, claiming that was all there was.

Prosecutors said she didn’t tell officers about the larger bag of jewelry in hopes she could keep it.

The tunnel leading to the vault at Hatton Garden Safe Deposit
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Police also secretly recorded Jones talking to Perkins as he drove through London after the raid which took place over two nights over the Easter bank holiday weekend.

Perkins said: “The biggest robbery in the fucking world, Dan, we were on it.”

Jones replied, “And what book could you write, dammit.”

A teetotaling fitness fanatic originally from Tottenham, north London, he has prior convictions including robbery, theft, robbery and handling of stolen goods, meaning he has spent much of his adult life in prison.

The lifelong Spurs fan was so institutionalized that he referred to evenings after 5 p.m. as “banging” and refused visitors or phone calls.

Around his single-family home, where the grand wooden staircase was adorned with a carved skull, he didn’t sleep in bed with his partner, Valerie.

Gold bars found by police at Michael Seed’s home in Islington
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The father of two preferred to dress in a Tommy Cooper-style fez and his mother’s robe, then lie down to sleep in a sleeping bag on the floor of his bedroom.

Jones urinated in a bottle due to his obsession with the military and the SAS, and talked to his wire-haired terrier, Rocket, as if he were human.

He spent his afternoons reading crime books and searching the Internet for ideas. A gang source said: “Danny has a likeable character. He is very energetic and impatient.

“If you had a little work to do, the chances of him succeeding would improve every week you were planning it, but he would always want to do it tonight.”

Hatton Garden gang member Carl Wood said of his friend during his trial: “Danny is a very sensitive guy, a very funny man. Eccentric to the extreme, everyone who knew Danny would say he was crazy.”

John Collins, Terry Perkins and Brian Reader at the Castle Public House, Pentonville Road
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Jones had been jailed for seven years in 1989 and it was during this time, while in Maidstone Prison, that he was given a cell alongside Reader’s former mentor Billy Barrett.

Alarm expert Basil was the last assailant to be arrested.

He turns ten years after finally being incarcerated in 2019.

The gang, nicknamed “Diamond Wheezers” due to their age, entered an underground tunnel into a safe in London’s diamond district.

They got a key to the multi-occupancy building, allowing Basil to simply enter through the front door.

Once inside, he let the others in via a fire escape.

Dressed as workers in high-visibility jackets and face masks, they went unnoticed as they carried the heavy tools needed for the job.

The Mirror revealed CCTV of them in action in 2015, showing for the first time that the raid had taken place over two nights.

Jones and Basil were the only ones skinny enough to enter the vault through the hole they had made with a diamond-tipped drill.

Heather Chalk of the Crown Prosecution Service said in 2018: “Daniel Jones made millions of pounds in criminal cash from the Hatton Garden robbery.

“In January, CPS showed the court that Jones had the funds to return his ill-gotten gains and today we successfully argued that his default sentences should be activated.

“Jones has not done so and will face more prison time as long as the amount owed remains.”

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www.mirror.co.uk

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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