January 28, 2008 A gang of five men, including a cagefighting martial arts champion, have been found guilty over Britain's biggest ever cash robbery in which £53million pounds was stolen from a depot in Kent. After a seven-month trial, a jury at the Old Bailey took eight days to return its verdict, convicting the men on a series of kidnap and robbery charges, for their part in the conspiracy. Disguised with sophisticated prosthetic make-up, the robbers kidnapped Colin Dixon,manager of the Securitas depot, his wife and their young child at gunpoint to gain entry to the building in Tonbridge, Kent. CCTV footage shown in court showed them trussing up 14 employees with cable ties before loading the cash into a 7.5-tonne lorry during the 66-minute early morning raid and escaping. The hostages were warned they would die unless they complied, the court heard. Two of the defendants, including John Fowler, the millionaire who owned the farm where police discovered £30,000 in Securitas wrappers in the boot of a car, and another £105,000 at the base of a tree, were cleared of all charges. Those convicted will be sentenced at the same court on Tuesday. Although gang members got away with what prosecutors described as akings ransom, they were forced to leave behind 153 million pounds because there was no more space in their truck. Police eventually recovered £21 million of the cash at sites in Kent and southeast London but much of the rest is thought to have been spirited away to Morocco and northern Cyprus, some of it turned into assets. Michelle Hogg, the hairdresser who provided the robbers with their disguises became the star prosecution witness after she agreed to give testimony against them. All charges against her were dropped. The robbery had echoes of theGreat Train Robbery of 1963, in which a gang of criminals held up an overnight mail train and made off with £2.6 million - the equivalent of about £33 million in 2008. The court later heard that Rusha had a string of convictions including grievous bodily harm and affray, while Coutts also had convictions, for affray and theft. Hysenaj was convicted of shoplifting in 2005 and Bucpapa had no previous convictions, the court was told. The judge warned that the men found guilty of conspiracy faced very substantial sentences. Det Sgt Andy Nicoll said the unprecedented investigation cost £5 million. Royle, who stopped coming to the trial months ago, and sacked his legal team early in the proceedings, will be invited to return tomorrow for sentencing. Outside court, Superintendent Paul Gladstone, of Kent Police, said: I am extremely satisfied with the result today."Nigel Pilkington, of the Crown Prosecution Service, said that while a lot of money was stolen, it was at its heart a crime of violence. He said the Dixon family had suffered a terrifying ordeal, while the 14 Securitas employees who were held up would remember the events for the rest of their lives. Mr Pilkington added: This is not the end of the matter for these criminals. We intend to seize their ill-gotten gains, wherever they may be. (http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article3264814.ece) The article has photos of the holdup, but I'm not going to post those. They're a bit too tense and I don't think people would want to see them. The first picture is of the guilty men The second picture is of the men hauling their take away.