Anatomy of a Robbery : Brink’s-Mat 26/11/83

Pitch black

Icy cold ,

Icy black

pitch cold ;

Heathrow Trading Estate

a corpse in a big grey shroud ,

outside Unit 7

the blue transit van

lowers at the morning.

“Mad” Mickey McAvoy ,

the 2 Brians,Robinson & Perry

and 3 others are

cooped up coiled springs

waiting to erupt;

waiting for their “inside man”

who told ’em which guards had

to-day’s combination numbers for the safe.

Waiting waiting waiting ,

for that useless Tony

to show up for his shift ;


apprehensive Tony Black

makes it into work ;

Then there’s this

bloke in a yellow balaclava ,

how odd ,

pointing what turns out to be

a Browning automatic

in their faces ,

odder still.

One of the guards ,

Pete Bentley assumes is playing a prank,

so carries on mashing the tea ,

till he got coshed with the gun;

cuffed and bound at the shins

with heavy duty tape ,

cloth bags with string pulled

down over their heads ,

all the guards snagged.

The 2 guards with the numbers are I-deed ,

one of ’em taps in his half of the combination ,

– but the numbers got changed –

so he has his trousers pulled down ,

petrol poured on his lap ,

a match is struck and

a bullet’s promised for his head ,

after 20 minutes the other guard

gets the codes right .

It’s 7 a.m.

the vault opens ,

full of shoebox size drab grey containers

each one containing 12 bars of gold;

There’s 6,800 gold bars altogether

weighing in all three and a half tons

with a value of £ 26,369,778.

All 6,800 bars are passed hand to hand

hand to hand to hand again from

Unit 7 into the creeping daylight

and their battered transit ;

eyewitnesses later reported

seeing an old van ,its engine wheezing ,

riding very low on its suspension

through the streets of Hounslow.

Historical footnote:

The Brink’s-MAT robbery occurred early on 26 November 1983 when six robbers broke into the Brink’s-MAT warehouse at Heathrow Airport, London. At the time, it was described as “the crime of the century”.

The gang gained entry to the warehouse from security guard Anthony Black. The robbers thought they were going to steal £3 million in cash. However, when they arrived, they found three tonnes of gold bullion and stole £26 million (£75 million in today’s money) worth of gold, diamonds and cash. Once inside, they poured petrol over staff and threatened them with a lit match if they did not reveal the combination numbers of the vault.

Two days after the robbery, a couple saw a white-hot crucible operating in a garden hut at a neighbour’s property near Bath. Suspecting it may be linked to the bullion robbery, they immediately informed police. The police arrived, and were shown the hut, but they said it was just beyond their area and said they would pass the information on to the police responsible for that area. The couple were never asked to give a statement to police nor give evidence in court. No explanation has been given for the police failure to follow up immediately on the tip-off. Only 14 months later were the premises raided, the smelter found, and occupier Brian Palmer, a local jeweller and bullion dealer, arrested. In court, Palmer said he was unaware the gold was linked to the robbery and was cleared of all charges. For this incident, Palmer acquired the soubriquet of “Goldfinger”.

One of the robbers, Brian Robinson, was caught after security guard insider Black, his brother-in-law, passed his name to investigating officers. He was arrested in December 1983.

Scotland Yard quickly discovered the family connection and Black confessed to aiding and abetting the raiders, providing them with a key to the main door, and giving them details of security measures. Tried at the Old Bailey in December 1984, Micky McAvoy was sentenced to 25 years imprisonment for armed robbery, Black was sentenced to six years.



About Louis Kasatkin

Freelance Writer ,Journalist, Performance Poet and Poetry Promoter Resume / CV Senior Editor , 2014 - Member,Board of Senior Editors,”Episteme” -Online Journal of Bharat College,Mumbai Editorial Administrator ,2011 – to date At the internationally renowned poetry website in partnership with and centred at Destiny Christian Church, Wakefield, England Schools based Poetry Masterclasses, 2001- to date Louis has delivered his poetry masterclasses in interactive workshop format in primary and secondary schools throughout the City of Wakefield and further afield. His masterclasses have often been the pupils’ first and only opportunity for schools to work with a professional poet. Executive Producer,Wakefield Wireless Mysteries 2012 –to date Louis has the leadership role in this groundbreaking play-for-voices, a contemporary update of the world renowned Medieval Passion plays. He secured the support of Mary Creagh ,Member of Parliament for Wakefield as the project’s Patron. Performance Poetry Residencies 2010- to date with Destiny Christian Church 2001-2002 -Poet-in-Residence at Wakefield Cathedral 1999-2000 -Poet-in-Residence at Wakefield Trinity Wildcats Rugby League Football Club Poetry Group Leadership Roles 2010-to date Founder of Destiny Poets 2004-2010 -President, The Black Horse Poets of Wakefield. 2002-2007 -Founder and Convenor of The Cathedral Poets of Wakefield. Publications Poetry Anthologies ( Author ) 2004- A Very Special Collection with The Cathedral Poets 2002- Louis & friends-Wakefield Cathedral Poetry Anthology Poetry Magazines ( Editor ) 2010- to date “ The Elephant” –Destiny Poets’ published thrice annually 2004-2008 – “From The Horse’s Mouth” – The Black Horse Poets published twice yearly. 2005-2006 – “Poetry Wakefield,City & Dioceses”- The Cathedral Poets/ The Black Horse Poets A quarterly magazine for all schools within the City and Diocese of Wakefield. 2002- “ The Cathedral Poets “ – eponymously titled monthly poetry supplement to Cathedral News magazine. Freelance Journalism 1979 – 1994 Leeds Other Paper , co-operatively run alternative weekly news publication ,featuring local gig guide, investigative reporting ignored by the mainstream,etc.Louis was primarily the LOP’s Rugby league correspondent – “The Man in the Stand” – from 1983 to 1994 besides erstwhile cultural commentator and guerrilla investigative reporter starting in 1979. Academic Qualifications B.A.( Hons.) Organisation Studies 2.2 from Bradford College, 1981 – 1984 Poetry Awards & Recognition 2013 – Overseas Award for Excellence in Arts Conferred by AuthorsPress ,New Dehli 2008- Civic Reception held by Wakefield Metropolitan District Council, hosted by the Lord Mayor to honour the 10th Anniversary of the Black Horse Poets. 2007- Winner of “Wakefield Poet of the Year”-The prestigious Jane Harrison MemoriaL Award at the annual Wakefield Poetry Awards. 2003- Winner of the inaugural Leeds International Peace Festival Poetry Prize (Adult section) with “Hudson River Interlude”, a commemorative poem honouring the victims of 9/11.
This entry was posted in 20th.Century History, British History, Media coverage, Nostalgia, Poetry Noir, Popular Culture, Social History and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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