Local Armed Robber Sentenced

W12 man jailed for £1.75m Heathrow raid

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A Shepherd's Bush man has been sentenced to more than 15 years in prison for his role in a £1.75 million raid on a Heathrow warehouse six years ago.

Barry Hibberd was jailed for 17 years and six months in a trial that made legal history: it was the first time in 400 years that a major criminal case was heard by a judge alone with no jury.

The 43-year-old and three accomplices, John Twomey and Glen Cameron, both from New Milton, Hampshire and Peter Blake from Notting Hill, were all found guilty of robbery and firearms charges at the Old Bailey.

Hibberd, Twomey, Blake and Cameron were part of a six-strong gang that gained access to Menzies World Cargo after being taken airside in a van by an employee on February 6, 2004.

Armed with handguns, the men entered the warehouse and after gaining access to the vault, stole several bags containing cash. They left the warehouse, stealing a white van and a gold Ford Focus at gunpoint. During the raid, sixteen employees were tied up with plastic handcuffs, two were pistol-whipped, and one was kicked in the chest.

The thieves had taken seven bags of banknotes from the vault containing thousands of pounds' worth of Danish Kroner, Swedish Kroner, Norwegian Kroner and Australian Dollars. The amount stolen was worth a total of £1,772,852.53 sterling.

Parts of the foreign currencies are believed to have been exchanged for sterling at a foreign exchange bureaux in central London. 260,000 Australian dollars recovered by officers was traced back to a Bureau-de-Change in Notting Hill.

Detective Superintendent Stuart Cundy, head of MPS Flying Squad, which had the men under surveillance, said: "These are dangerous individuals who organised a complex armed robbery, to steal a substantial amount of money and expected to get away with it. They were prepared to not only carry guns, but to use them to ensure their plan succeeded.

"I pay tribute to the victims of this violent robbery who provided evidence in this case. I have no doubt that these men would have continued to pose a risk to the public if they had not been caught."

This is the fourth time the four have stood trial for the Heathrow robbery; previous trials had to be abandoned due to sickness and the jury being unable to reach a decision. The third trial was abandoned nearly halfway through after the judge said information had been received which pointed to "a serious attempt at jury tampering". The prosecution then applied for a trial without jury.

The estimated cost of the trials to date is about £25m.

31 March 2010