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Gem raid recovery chances 'limited'

Published 07/05/2015

The scene inside the vault at the Hatton Garden Safe Deposit company after the Easter weekend raid (Metropolitan Police/PA)
The scene inside the vault at the Hatton Garden Safe Deposit company after the Easter weekend raid (Metropolitan Police/PA)

A group of victims of the Hatton Garden jewellery raid have been told the chances of recovering their losses are "very limited".

Some 25 people - including some who have lost their livelihoods - gathered to discuss what action they can take after a gang of thieves ransacked 72 safety deposit boxes over the Easter weekend in the famous jewellery quarter.

The meeting took place at the London Diamond Bourse (LDB), a trade association based just a few metres from where the burglary took place at the Hatton Garden Safety Deposit Company.

Speaking after the meeting, Harry Levy, president of the LDB, said: " I was very pessimistic when I spoke to the people who have lost everything.

"I said that the possibilities of recovering money are very limited in this case."

He added: "You never recover money from these big robberies."

Many of the dealers who attended the meeting said they were uninsured.

"A lot of them claim they have lost their livelihoods," Mr Levy went on.

"I said that they would have problems getting a fund going to recover money because we are regarded as unworthy individuals - it's not like a natural disaster where they've lost the roof over their heads and they haven't got any money to buy food.

"But eventually some of them will find they have lost the roof over their heads because they won't be able to meet their mortgages, they can't trade any longer."

Asked if the group was considering legal action, Mr Levy said he had advised them to form a committee and consider employing a lawyer and loss assessor.

Police have offered a £20,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of all those involved in the raid and have released images of the Hilti DD350 drill which was used to bore a hole into the vault wall.

Scotland Yard is reviewing why officers were not sent to investigate an intruder alarm set off there shortly after midnight on Good Friday.

A call was received by the force's Computer Aided Despatch system from the security company, but no police response was deemed necessary.

Mr Levy said it was "not our intention" to sue the Metropolitan Police, who have been "very co-operative".

He claimed he had "absolutely no idea" of the value of the goods taken.

He described how people were "past the stage of being upset" but were annoyed that it has taken so long for the police to allow them to visit the crime scene and to give them a definitive account of what happened.

Loss adjuster Rick Marchant, of Marchant and Marchant Limited, said he was dealing with seven clients who had lost items worth up to £2 million.

"These aren't extremely wealthy people - for a lot of them their livelihoods have gone," he told the BBC.

"All of us might be forgiven for thinking how audacious, how clever, but what (the gang has) done is ruin the lives of many people within the Hatton Garden jewellery quarter."

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