DETECTIVES are examining CCTV footage apparently showing a gang of burglars pulling off the Hatton Garden gems raid over the Easter weekend.
Images published in a newspaper show at least six men seemingly arriving at the Hatton Garden Safe Deposit company’s building in the famous London jewellery quarter on the Thursday night before Easter Sunday.
The men appear to have made two separate visits before leaving on Easter Sunday with the contents of 72 safety deposit boxes in wheelie bins and bags and making a getaway in a white van, according to reports.
John O’Connor, the former head of the Metropolitan Police’s Flying Squad, said he was “horrified” that police appeared not to have obtained the footage before the news- paper.
But a Scotland Yard spokesman insisted officers were already aware of the footage, along with images captured by other security cameras, before it was published.
The force has also “not made any links” between the raid and an underground fire in London’s Holborn area days earlier which caused widespread power outages and road closures, the spokesman added.
O’Connor said: “I can’t recall any of the major robberies or major crimes that have occurred in the past, where suddenly the media come along and get hold of the most convincing evidence that exists.”
In the 17-minute video, the camera centres on a doorway, with an adjacent intercom, at the bottom of a stairway to the street.
Several men appear wearing high-visibility jackets, builder’s hats, gloves and dust masks and carrying orange tool boxes and holdalls. Others are wearing blue overalls and gloves.
Three men have their faces covered and are pictured manoeuvring wheelie bins in and out of the building.
A white van is seen pulling up shortly before 7am on Easter Sunday, according to the paper, and once the bins and bags are loaded, the group get in and drive away.
A heavy-duty drill was used to bore holes into the 6ft thick reinforced concrete walls to access the vault after the thieves had climbed down a lift shaft.
Experts said it was likely the thieves made several holes until they had created a big enough space to get through, which would have taken an experienced operator several hours.
Earlier Scotland Yard admitted officers were told a burglar alarm had gone off at the scene but decided it did not require a response.
A security firm had con- tacted the Met about an intruder alert shortly after midnight on Good Friday, but the call was graded in a way that meant “no police response was deemed to be required”.
It was not until Tuesday morning – more than four days later – that the audacious raid was discovered.
Detectives found that of the 72 safety deposit boxes opened, five were empty and 11 were due to be “drilled out” due to non-payment of fees, meaning officers were attempting to contact a total of 56 box holders.
O’Connor said: “They’ve obviously taken the view that this is not high priority. They’ve got a graded response system and they’ve graded this very lowly. How could you possibly do that?
“I can’t believe they can be so utterly incompetent.”
Victims have expressed anger at the lapse, which is being investigated by the police.
Michael Miller, from Knightsbridge, who may have lost £50,000 in uninsured jewellery, said: “I am just so shocked and disappointed to hear the police didn’t answer that alarm.”
Hatton Garden, the centre of Britain’s diamond trade, has been hit by several audacious robberies in the past.