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Hatton Garden suspect accused of ‘strikingly similar’ earlier raid

Michael Seed is said to have been the final member of the gang – a man nicknamed “Basil”

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Michael Seed appearing at Westminster Magistrates Court during an earlier hearing (Elizabeth Cook/PA)

Michael Seed appearing at Westminster Magistrates Court during an earlier hearing (Elizabeth Cook/PA)

Michael Seed appearing at Westminster Magistrates Court during an earlier hearing (Elizabeth Cook/PA)

The final suspect in the Hatton Garden heist committed a “strikingly similar” burglary five years earlier, a court has heard.

Michael Seed, 58, is said to have been the man nicknamed “Basil”, who remained at large after his alleged co-conspirators were arrested following what was, at the time, the largest burglary in English legal history.

An estimated £13.7 million of gold, cash and gems was taken from 73 boxes at Hatton Garden Safe Deposit in London’s diamond district after a drill was used to bore a hole into the vault wall during the 2015 Easter Bank Holiday weekend raid.

Woolwich Crown Court heard five of the six men who were there on the night – Brian Reader, 79, John Collins, 78, Daniel Jones, 61, Carl Wood, 61, and Terry Perkins, who died last year aged 69 – have been convicted of conspiring to carry out the burglary.

Prosecutor Philip Evans QC told the jury the sixth, known to the rest of the team as Basil, was not arrested at the same time.

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The tunnel leading into the vault at the Hatton Garden Safe Deposit company in London (Metropolitan Police/PA)

The tunnel leading into the vault at the Hatton Garden Safe Deposit company in London (Metropolitan Police/PA)

Press Association Images

The tunnel leading into the vault at the Hatton Garden Safe Deposit company in London (Metropolitan Police/PA)

“The prosecution case is that ‘Basil’ was a nickname and the defendant, Michael Seed, is that man,” he said.

“The prosecution say Seed was involved in the burglary of Hatton Garden and the subsequent laundering of the proceeds.”

The probe into the Hatton Garden heist revealed some of the same crew had committed a “strikingly similar” burglary during the late August Bank Holiday weekend in 2010 of the Chatila jewellery store in Bond Street, the court heard.

Around £1 million worth of jewellery, along with £45,000 in cash, was stolen in the raid.

Jones pleaded guilty to the burglary, while Perkins died in prison before he could be tried.

Charles Matthews, 55, was convicted earlier this year of receiving stolen goods from Chatila.

“The prosecution alleges that this defendant, Mr Seed, was also a participant in that earlier 2010 burglary at Chatila” Mr Evans said.

The prosecutor said the Hatton Garden and Chatila burglaries were “two high value burglaries” that were “conducted by the same teams”.

Seed, of Liverpool Road, Islington, north London, denies two charges of conspiracy to commit burglary and one charge of conspiracy to convert or transfer criminal property.

He sat in the dock with thinning grey hair and wearing black-rimmed glasses and a blue sweater, as the case against him was opened.

PA