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Burglar who stole millions of pounds worth of jewellery from Hatton Garden in London loses appeal at the High Court

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A burglar who helped to steal millions of pounds worth of jewellery from Hatton Garden in London has failed to reduce his extended sentence at the High Court today (19 March 2021).

John Collins (79) was part of a gang of six men who burgled the Hatton Garden Safety Deposit Company in April 2015. Six men wearing high-visibility jackets entered the London premises over a Bank Holiday weekend, overcame the alarms and drilled their way into the safety deposit vault in the basement. They left with around £13.69m of gold, jewellery and precious stones.

After the gang was brought to justice in March 2016 the CPS started to recover the stolen funds.

In 2018, Collins, 78, was ordered to pay £7,635,233.31 . This amount was made up of a combined £6,396,273.75 with other gang members, with the remainder calculated separately from Collins’s assets.

On 1 August 2019, Collins was ordered to serve a further seven years default sentence at Westminster Magistrates Court after failing to pay the amount.

Collins applied to the High Court by way of a judicial review to seek a reduction of the default sentence. The Crown successfully resisted this and the application for a reduction of his default sentence was today dismissed by the High Court.

Adrian Foster, Chief Crown Prosecutor for the CPS Proceeds of Crime Division, said: “John Collins was a key player in the Hatton Garden burglary and stood to benefit from millions of pounds. However, we always look to ensure criminals are not able to use these funds and secured a seven-year extension to Collins’s term in jail after he failed to pay back more than £7million.

“Today at the High Court, we successfully argued that Collins should continue to serve his extra time in prison while millions still remain to be paid.”

Notes to editors

  • John Collins (DOB 05/09/1940) pleaded guilty to conspiracy to burgle Hatton Garden Safe Company on 4 September 2015 and was sentenced to seven years' imprisonment.
  • Adrian Foster is the Chief Crown Prosecutor of CPS Proceeds of Crime Division (CPS POC), which is a specialist national division dedicated to the recovery of assets and money
  • Details of Confiscation Orders: 
    • Michael Seed (DOB: 09/08/1960), known as ‘Basil’ was ordered to pay £5,997,684.93
    • Brian Reader (DOB 28/02/1939), Daniel Jones, Terry Perkins and John Collins were given a joint confiscation order of £6,396,273.75 plus extra sums dependent on their personal circumstances. Any money paid by any of the men as regards the joint amount would be treated as a payment towards each co-defendant’s confiscation order
    • £3,635,204 of recovered jewellery was returned to victims following conviction. The remainder, which could not be accurately or safely identified, is being sold at auction
    • Amount paid to date from the auction: £1,659,793
  • Where a defendant refuses to pay their Confiscation Order in a timely way, CPS Proceeds of Crime can invite the court to impose an additional default sentence on them of up to 14 years' imprisonment. The full debt continues to be in force until it is paid and interest is charged against it at 8% (the civil judgement debt rate)
  • Status of the remaining defendants:
    • Terry Perkins died in prison in February 2018 and steps are being taken to recover funds from his estate
    • Daniel Jones’s default sentence was activated on 14 August 2018 where he was sentenced to a further six-and-a-half years' imprisonment
    • Brian Reader was taken before the court on 12 February 2020, however due to his deteriorating health the District Judge declined to impose the seven years’ default sentence upon him
    • Michael Seed was convicted and sentenced for his part in the burglaries in March 2019.

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