The Met Police Flying Squad have revealed that a diamond drill costing more than £3,000 was used to bore through two metres of reinforced concrete in the Hatton Garden safe deposit vault burglary.
There was no sign of any forced entry from the outside.
Detective Chief Inspector Paul Johnson, in a live broadcast media conference, described the raid over the Easter weekend as ‘organised and sophisticated’ and observed the pool of criminals capable of carrying out such an operation was limited.
Police were first called after 8 am on Tuesday morning to Hatton Garden Safety Deposit Ltd which is in the basement of 88-90 Hatton Garden.
The building is made up of a number of businesses, with a communal entrance.
DCI Johnson said:
There was no sign of a forced entry to the outside of the building. The thieves have disabled the communal lift on the second floor and then used the lift shaft to climb down into the basement.
They forced open shutter doors into the basement where Hatton Garden Security Deposit Ltd is located, then made their way to the vault, where they used a heavy duty drill – the make was a Hilti DD350 – to bore holes into the vault wall. The wall is two metres thick and made of re-enforced concrete.
Once inside they forced open up to 70 safety deposit boxes.
The scene is chaotic. The vault is covered in dust and debris and the floor is strewn with discarded safety deposit boxes and numerous power tools, including an angle grinder, concrete drills and crowbars.
Officers are in the process of identifying the owners of the safety deposit boxes and as we do, we are contacting them to take statements and find out what has been stolen. This is a slow and ongoing process.
A forensic examination of the scene for evidence is ongoing. This is a painstaking process but is essential to ensure officers can gather as much evidence and opportunities to identify the thieves.
DCI Johnson said officers are gathering and examining CCTV to identify any possible leads.
There have been a number of reports in the media around the alarm being activated on Friday, 3rd April and the police response. This will of course form part of the investigation.
The nature of safe deposit security in basement vaults in Hatton Garden was reported by Pathe News in 1949 and the report 66 years ago referred to a similar thickness of reinforced concrete to deter thieves.
The Met Police say anyone who has any information about this theft, or saw anything suspicious in the area around Hatton Garden Safety Deposit Ltd over the Easter bank holiday is asked to contact the Flying Squad on 020 8785 8655, or to remain anonymous Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.