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£350 Million Diamond Raid At The Dome: Flying Squad foil world’s biggest heist. Evening Standard front page
The target: a diamond worth $350,000,000. The MO: a smash and grab job of monstrous proportions. The mastermind: a criminal genius. The plan: seemingly foolproof. Masterminds e61: The Millennium Diamond
London’s Millennium Dome – an arena on the Thames River filled with exhibitions. At almost 9 a.m. the first visitors are waiting to go in. The main attraction: a De Beers exhibition showcasing some of the most spectacular diamonds in the world. The centrepiece is the Millennium Star, a perfect diamond weighing an astounding 203 carats. ibid.
At 9.27 a.m. cameras spot a bulldozer inching towards the dome. Then it stops. Around the same time a high-speed motor-boat docks at the Millennium Dome Pier. ibid.
The bulldozer ... ploughs through the perimeter gates ... Two men jump from the bulldozer, enter the De Beers exhibition hall and go to work on the so-called impenetrable display-case ... They’re just inches away from the Millennium Star ... De Beers thought it never could be beaten. ibid.
Raymond Betson and his ... gang didn’t realise that they were being watched. ibid.
But this wasn’t a plot from a movie. This is the incredible story of the Millennium Dome Diamond Heist. Britain’s Biggest Heists s1e4: Millennium Dome Diamond Heist, 2010
A second attempted robbery five months later in Kent was almost a carbon copy of Nine Elms. ibid.
[Lee] Wenham had his eye on the Millennium Star – one of the most expensive diamonds in the world exhibited at the Dome with other precious stones. This diamond was so rare because it had no flaws. No imperfections whatsoever. ibid.
As the police prepared for the showdown so did the gang ... For months they have been secretly following a gang of London crooks. ibid.
The operation was a complete success. The entire gang were apprehended without any casualties. Cockram and Adams had been the ones trying to smash the cabinets. Ciarrochi had been tasked with the smoke bombs. Betson was nabbed at the wheel of the JCB, leaving Meredith outside on the boat, and Millman across the river – both oblivious officers were coming to get them. ibid.
‘It [JCB] crashes through suddenly these big Perspex doors in the Dome and moves right around outside the jewel house ... They were through, and it just needs a hand to reach in and take the diamond. And we saw these smoke bombs being thrown which are causing absolute pandemonium ... We controlled the area and moved in and they were arrested.’ ibid.
There has never ever been a diamond so spectacular and beautiful as the Millennium Star ... the world’s largest internally and externally flawless top-colour pear-shaped diamond. Lesley Coldham, De Beers
The world biggest ever diamond heist. On display at the De Beers exhibition was the world famous Millennium Star diamond, a 203-carat stone said to be unrivalled in its purity. Crimes that Shocked Britain
In November 2000 a criminal gang attempted the most audacious robbery in British criminal history. The target: the world’s most perfect diamond. Real Crime with Mark Austin: Diamond Geezers, ITV 2008
The robbery [Medway] and the getaway bore the same hallmarks as the Nine Elms raid. ibid.
The diamond known as the Millennium Star was the centrepiece of a £350 million De Beers exhibition. ibid.
Wenham was filmed checking possible access points to the site. ibid.
The plan to foil the [Millennium Dome] raid became known as Operation Magician, the biggest undertaking in the Flying Squad’s history. ibid.
The gang had been under surveillance for five months; the ambush was over in less than a minute. ibid.
The Millennium Dome: icon of the year 2000. Home to a celebration of the new century. And on display at its heart a £350 million millennium diamond. In November 2000 this 7-ton earth-mover made headlines around the world when it was involved in the biggest diamond heist in British criminal history. A criminal gang had one target: the Mona Lisa of diamonds. The Millennium Dome Heist with Ross Kemp, ITV 2020
If the gang pull it off, it will be the equivalent of twelve Great Train Robberies, seven Brink’s-Mat bullion jobs, and thirty-eight Hatton Garden safe-deposit heists. ibid.
In scenes that seem to come straight out of a film script – the dozen de Beers diamonds at the Dome in London. Inside the Heist s1e1: The Millennium Diamonds, Quest 2022
The Millennium Star is the diamond of all diamonds. A once in a lifetime discovery – 777 carats. ibid.
The Millennium Dome is the most ambitious plan the country has seen for years … De Beers, the world’s most famous diamond merchants, are called in to add sparkle. ibid.
‘The Flying Squad observed the gang carrying out reconnaissance of the Millennium dome at really random times.’ ibid.