Cast: Michael Caine, Jim Broadbent, Tom Courtenay, Ray Winstone, Michael Gambon, Charlie Cox
Director: James Marsh
Genre: Crime, Drama
Running Time: 108 minutes
Synopsis: A famous thief in his younger years, widower Brian Reader, 77 years of age, pulls together a band of misfit criminals to plot an unprecedented burglary at the Hatton Garden Safe Deposit.
The thieves, all in their 60s and 70s except for one, employ their old-school thieving skills to plan the heist over the Easter holiday weekend. Posing as servicemen, they enter the deposit, neutralise the alarms, and proceed to drill a hole into the wall of the safe. Two days later, they manage to escape with allegedly over £200 million worth of stolen jewels and money. When police are called to the scene and the investigation starts, the cracks between the misfit gang members begin to show as they row over how to share the goods and become increasingly distrustful of each other.
Meanwhile, the crime has become public knowledge, and a frenzy of speculations begin. As details about the crime come to light, both the British public and the media are captivated, and the investigation is followed with bated breath around the world until the criminals are eventually captured.
King Of Thieves
Release Date: February 28th, 2019
'The burglary of the Hatton Garden Safe Deposit vault in April 2015 has been labelled by many as the biggest burglary in English legal history. Whether that assertion is capable of proof, I do not know. However, it is clear that the burglary at the heart of this case stands in a class of its own in the scale of the ambition, the detail of the planning, the level of preparation and the organisation of the team carrying it out, and in terms of the value of the property stolen.'
Judge Christopher Kinch QC on sentencing the gang
The story of Hatton Garden captivated the public, dominating the news agenda from the moment of discovery until the eventual capture and sentencing of the gang. It was inevitable it would make its way into popular culture. Ask anyone on this film set about the heist, and the first thing they say is how they thought it would make a great film.
For producer Tim Bevan, the seed was planted by someone quite unexpected.
"I think it's one of those stories that you hear about and everyone thinks immediately, "oh, this will make a great film'. And then in fact Daniel Day Lewis called me up and said, "hey, have you heard about this story, it would make a great movie." And I said, "do you want to be in it?" And he said, "no, but it would make a great film!" And that prodded me into thinking, well actually it would be, you're absolutely right. We should do something about this."
The wheels at Working Title very quickly started turning, starting with Tim approaching director James Marsh. James has made a career out of bringing true stories to the screen. In 2008 Man On Wire, his retelling of Phillipe Petit's high wire walk between the two towers of the doomed World Trade Centre (the 'artistic crime of the century'), stormed the award season, winning amongst others an Academy® and BAFTA® Award. Two years later, and he enthralled audiences again with Project Nim, about a chimpanzee raised as a human being. And then of course there is his most recent work and first collaboration with Working Title, The Theory Of Everything (2014), the dramatization for screen on the life of the late Professor Stephen Hawking, which earned James his second BAFTA® award and an Academy Award® nomination.
"We mentioned the idea to James very early on in the process. We had just had great success with him on Theory Of Everything, and when I mentioned the idea to him he saw its potential."
"Although I was initially quite resistant to it," James reminds him. "I kind of knew what tone this might be and this wouldn't be something I'm good at doing. But the more I engaged with the true story, the more I saw a comedy, as offered by the true story. And that's not very usual when you have a true story that seems to have the proportions of comedy and the ebb and flow of comedy."
As James began to see the comedic potential for the story (and more on the comedy aspect later), his enthusiasm for the project grew.
"I thought it would be an interesting challenge for a film maker like me who is usually drawn to darker areas of filmmaking. To do something that was a substantial character- driven comedy based on a true story was interesting to me. My background, as you know, is documentaries, so I find true stories in themselves very inviting. Plus the world was changing around us in a way that I didn't particularly enjoy in 2016, when we started this project, and the idea of making a comedy as opposed to some dark, grim film felt again really appealing on a personal level."
There were of course a few competitive projects circulating at the time, so Tim made a tactically shrewd move very early on.
"I got Caine before we had even written anything to agree to do it," he says ruefully. "I thought whoever gets Michael Caine to do it is probably going to win this race."
"We met with Michael and talked about the story and the character before we had written anything," follows James, "So he basically signed up to do this in principle before we'd written a word of it! With him in place you've got a good chance of staking your claim on the territory."
In fact, the entire project was built around Michael. Tim knew that Michael would be a honey pot to other actors wanting to work with him, so in essence the entire project was built around him.
"More and more that is the case with these film," explains Tim. "When Working Title has an idea for something, we know the issues that are going to get in the way of getting them made, and whoever plays the lead is going to play a big part in that."
With Michael on board and working closely with executive producer Amelia Granger, the team then sought to identify how they could tell a story that was already being regurgitated relentlessly in popular culture. Before cameras started turning on King Of Thieves, there were already two films, a TV series and at least three books written about the crime; which begs the question, what more is there to say?
"It's like a myth," says James as he considers the question. "It's like a mythical story, and any story like this is bound to attract different versions. It's irresistible as a proposition when you read the headline. When you realise that these old men have done this crime, and they're haplessly ignorant of the modern world…it's too good to be true if you're a filmmaker or a dramatist. So there will be another version of this story, I'm sure, that do exist and will exist. I think our take on it was the correct one, which was to embrace the comedy of the story."
There is something that King Of Thieves has access to however, that no other version has, and it is this that gives the film a real edge on whatever else has come before and whatever else comes after. In addition to the Michael Caine factor, what positions King Of Thieves uniquely to tell the real story is the source material.
"When there's an idea out there like, you want to make sure that you get the rights and the bits of information that might stop other people from making the film you want to make," says Tim, "So we went after the Guardian and its reporting on the case from Duncan Campbell, and bought the rights to all of it."
Duncan Campbell is the Guardian's chief crime correspondent. A veteran investigative journalist, he has been reporting on crime for over three decades, in which time he has crafted close relationships with the criminal underworld. In the same way in which a film journalist develops a relationship with the filmmakers he or she writes about, a bond of trust is established between crime writer and criminal. In Duncan's case, he had become close to Brian Reader. However, it was only after it came to light that Brian was behind the burglary that Duncan got involved with the case.
"There was a lot of speculation as to who might be involved, and when it transpired that the people arrested were in their 70s, I wondered if one of them was someone I know," says Duncan. "When it turned out it was Brian, someone I have known for a long time from covering crime, that was the beginning of my involvement. I then wrote a piece for The Guardian Magazine, having covered the trial, and that led to my involvement with the film."
Working Title contacted The Guardian and optioned the article Duncan had written about the case and the trial, which producer Ali Jaafar was also chasing. Several television and film companies had actually approached him in connection with his article, and whilst he felt Working Title was best placed to tell the story, it was James Marsh that clinched it for him. "He made one of my favourite films of all time 'Man On Wire," explains Duncan. "James actually said to me that in many ways Hatton Garden was a similar operation to that of Man On Wire. This extraordinary feat of walking between the Twin Towers was in itself like a heist, and there were many parallels, and for that reason I think James Marsh was the perfect person to make the film."
As it turns out, Duncan brought more to the table than Working Title could ever have hoped for. He was the proverbial ace up their sleeve. Because of his thirty-year strong relationship with the courtrooms and Scotland Yard, Duncan had access to the actual transcripts from the investigation - hundreds of pages of transcripts. When Scotland Yard realised who was behind the burglary, they needed to build a water tight case to warrant the arrest and eventual trial of the gang, and so they started tailing the gang, tapping their phones, recording their conversations, using lip readers when they couldn't plant listening devices. Every conversation recorded, every activity observed was filed and when the gang was eventually brought in for questioning, their interviews recorded and transcribed. It was a gold mine of material, and Working Title had it at their disposal.
Short of having the story told by the perpetrators themselves, there is no other treatment out there that comes as close to the truth as King Of Thieves, using as it does the source from Duncan Campbell, who had the inside story of the heist, and through his research and both underworld and police connections uncovered every factual piece of truth there is to uncover about the case. It was a scriptwriter's dream.
"It was the surveillance transcripts that Duncan got for me from Scotland Yard that really hooked me into the story,'" explains scriptwriter Joe Penhall. "Very soon after the burglary, Scotland Yard had an idea of who was behind it and put the entire gang under surveillance - chips in their cars, tapping their phones. They covered every conceivable aspect of their interactions together, recording all of their dialogue. I read this document, that was about 100 pages thick, and it just read like a play. It was glorious and the vernacular so obscure and real that it was obviously going to make a great screenplay. So I was provided with a lot of wonderful material and told to go where I wanted to go with it."
Joe's screen work, which includes Netflix's TV series Mindhunter (2017) as well as films like The Road (John Hillcoat, 2009) and Enduring Love (Roger Michell,2004) - are testament not only to his original and uncompromising approach, but also his understanding of character driven drama. "We wanted to make the film very character based," says Tim. "Everybody kind of knew the story because it had been so widely reported, so it felt important that the enjoyment of the film would be these old guys slightly out of step with time, living in a little bubble of their own. So we went to playwright Joe Penhall who has got just a great ear for dialogue and voice."
"Joe is a man of the theatre," says James. "He's a man who writes great, tasty dialogue for the characters and that pedigree that Joe brought to it, that writing pedigree, I think brought the actors to the film, and me too. We worked together on the structure of the story and the events of the story. But he really took flight on the dialogue, and I think that gave the actors something really interesting to engage with. I think the film's distinctive quality is Joe's writing."
Marsh and Penhall seemed like a perfect union to tell a story that would offer more than just a run of the mill heist. Together with Tim and Amelia, they got down to business, working out what the movie might be, and as they did so, they began to see a far greater depth to the story.
"We all scratched our heads for a bit thinking is this the thing we should be doing, because on the one hand it's a heist film, but we all wanted to do something very anthropological and nuanced, real and detailed and serious too," explains Joe. "And then we realized it could be the big anthropological, nuanced film we wanted it to be and be a heist film at the same time."
With the gang being very much alive at the time of writing and making the film (Terry Perkins died in prison on 5th February 2018) and interned at her Majesty's pleasure, was there not a strong argument to engage their help as advisors, after all it is their story? "There were people who were related to the gang or were close to them who offered to be consultants, but we stayed away from it and used the journalistic background," Michelle explains. "We've tried to stay as true to the characters as we can. We've taken a little bit of creative license – would Lynn Reader's wake have been out in Windsor, for example, it probably wouldn't have been, but we have tried to stay as true to the timeline for sure, what everybody knew, who they were to the best of our ability."
With so much raw material at his disposal, is this story as close to the truth as anyone is ever going to get? Joe considers the question before responding.
"Over time more truth keeps coming out. We literally found out more every week. But our version is definitely as close as you can get to the truth at this moment in time. And I think it is also emotionally, existentially and psychologically the truth. One of the things we wanted to do with this film is address the notion that villains who put together crimes like this are of a particular type. It takes a particular kind of psychology for a 70-year-old man to go underground for three days, smashing, drilling and hauling. It takes a certain kind of madness and determination, a kind of bent genius, to do that. The thing about a lot of villains is that they are not really socialized. The only thing they can do is that kind of crazy enterprise and they are not necessarily great at relationships, and what I really identified early on in the story is that, although they are all really great friends, they do turn on each other endlessly. There's a lot of ego involved as they jockey for position. In the police transcripts they talk about how one day they will make a film about us - 'we're going to be more famous than any other villain ever.' There's a great deal of narcissism, obsession and lack of empathy and passiveness. They really don't have any thought at all for all the people that lost everything. There's a blinding lack of empathy, and psychologically I think it's really fascinating to examine what's not obvious. It's obvious that millions were stolen, but what's not obvious is what kind of people can do that."
King Of Thieves brings together an extraordinary cast of screen legends, a roll call of some of UK's finest stars – Sir Michael Caine, Sir Tom Courtenay, Sir Michael Gambon, Ray Winstone, Paul Whitehouse and, whilst not of the age or long heritage of his fellow cast, the equally talented Charlie Cox. A combined age of 460 years, the actors portraying the real villains of Hatton have a few years on them, twelve to be precise. But what's in a number? As with the gang they portray, they are all very different characters, and in this instance it is their screen heritage that lends itself so well to identifying these nuances.
Sir Michael Caine is Brian Reader
The oldest of the gang at 77 years of age, and described as 'the last of the gentlemen thieves,' Brian Reader was, in his day, as close to being a star as a villain can get, one of the country's most prolific jewel thieves, involved in raids and heists totalling more than £200 million.
His name is synonymous with some of the most infamous burglaries of his time. By the age of 32, Reader was among the gang of master thieves who were dubbed the Millionaire Moles, so called because they tunnelled into a Lloyds bank vault in London to loot 268 safe-deposit boxes in 1971. He was also associated with the Brinks-Mat Job in 1983, the gang stealing what today would be worth $145 million of gold bullion.
Born and bred in South London and from humble beginnings, he was a man who, at the height of his success, enjoyed the finer things in life – expensive restaurants, winters skiing, summers yachting. He was a man of stature who earned the respect of his peers. Sir Michael Caine was the perfect match. At the age of 84, Sir Michael Caine is the Guvnor on and off screen. Beyond seasoned, he is arguably Britain's most iconic actor and at one point the UK's biggest cinematic export.
Michael had made no secret of his desire to play Reader. Like everyone at that time, he was fascinated by the heist, and when the age of the perpetrators came to light he actually told his wife 'if they make a movie about this I bet they come to me about it!'
"I always wanted to play one of them, preferably Brian Reader," says Sir Michael. "He's the guy that devised it all in the first place and figured out how to do it."
"It's strange seeing Michael play him because they are not totally dissimilar, both in looks and in being quite understated," says Duncan. "Droll, rather than expansive."
"I do understand his character," says Michael. "I know his wardrobe, I know where he eats – he's a very sophisticated eater. [he laughs] I mean, he actually sounds like me! Someone who made some money and then decided to have a good life."
"Michael comes with this screen persona, that you can embrace or you can go against time. He's done it so beautifully. He's not only ever played a gangster, he's played all kinds of roles - doctors, therapists, academics. We're embracing the sort of original Michael Caine from the Italian Job and from Get Carter. And it just felt so poetic in a way that Michael is also now an elderly man, although he'll keep going on and on, trust me!"
"For me particularly it's been great as we've been on location all over London, to places I haven't been in years," says Sir Michael. "I've gone back to Windsor where I lived when I first got married. I went past the hospital where I was born and past the house we lived in when I was one year old. And I've discovered Hatton Garden, which I didn't really know. We've been all over London and it's been a wonderful experience for me because I've been away. I lived in LA for years, when I was in the UK I lived in the country, so I am really enjoying myself. I grew up in Elephant and Castle where there was a lot of crime, and my mother always said to me, 'you don't ever want anything of anyone else's. Get your own.' And that's what I've done."
Jim Broadbent is Terry Perkins
Jim Broadbent was cast to play Terry Perkins, the character that is conveyed in King Of Thieves as the most menacing and dangerous of the five strong gang, and not without merit. Terry Perkins was a career criminal, who in 1983, on his 35th birthday, was involved in the UK's biggest-ever cash robbery, the Security Express depot raid in London, in which six million pounds was stolen. Perkins was apprehended and sentenced to twenty-two years. On sentencing him, the judge called him evil and ruthless, not least because he threatened a bank employee by dousing him in petrol and shaking a box of matches at him - a reference that Joe wrote into the script. In a bizarre twist of fate, thirty-two years to the day after the Security Express heist, and celebrating his 67th year, Perkins was boring through a wall into the vault at Hatton Garden.
Jim is one of the most versatile character actors living today whose extraordinary, multi layered talent means he is rarely off the screen, his characters enthralling audiences across the globe: Mr Gruber in Paddington 1&2, Bridget's Dad in Bridget Jones, Professor Horace Slughorn in Harry Potter, Harold Zidler in Moulin Rouge. Whilst the ease in which he adapts to each role makes him difficult to pin him to any particular genre, crime stories are few in his 40-year career.
"We thought of Jim Broadbent playing somewhat against type," says James. "He plays a very, very nasty piece of work in this film, the one with the darkest heart, and Jim is just such a fantastic actor to work with I think he seemed to really enjoy playing this sadistic, but not particularly bright character."
"Well I am trying to redress the balance a bit," chuckles Jim. "We like good Brit villains in Hollywood don't we, so I thought I'd get some of that! It was clearly an appealing project. There's a slight Robin Hood romance about it, apart from the fact they were going to keep it all to themselves. Everyone was saying someone would make a film about it, as was I, hoping it would come my way, admitting I was probably in that age bracket now, and it did! It's an unusual part for me to be playing, which is a nice challenge because I often play softer characters, congenial characters, more middle class characters, so finding a different type of character has been interesting."
Story aside, the opportunity to work with James and fellow cast members was a major draw. "It's a wonderful cast to be working with. They are all great guys. I'd worked with Michael before in Little Voice and I'd met Ray a few times, but whilst we'd been in a film together, we never shared the same scenes. Tom, I've met and worked with a little bit. It's a good parallel bunch of relationships in something like this. Parallel to the film are us all sitting around sharing stories. It's great fun. I've loved coming into work."
"The whole production is really impressive, even down to the technical design of the film, breaking through the wall. All the preparation has made what could have been really difficult tasks very easy, because it's been worked out so meticulously, which is very much down to James. Man On Wire, whilst a documentary, had all the tension of a fiction. He's also very sensitive to what actors can do and what they can bring. He has a real feel for the narrative, the story he's telling and wants to unfold, bringing together little threads. He's great to work with and keeps a keen eye."
Ray Winstone is Danny Jones
Aged 61 at the time of the robbery, Danny Jones had a lengthy criminal record dating back to 1975, with convictions for robbery, handling stolen goods and burglary. Described as an 'eccentric Walter Mitty' character during the trial, Jones claimed he had supernatural powers, could read palms and would sleep in his mother's dressing gown and a fez hat. That aside, he was obsessed with crime, and spent his spare time reading about and studying famous villains. It was in fact during a raid at his house that a copy of the book referenced to in the film, 'Forensics For Dummies' was found.
On paper, Jones was a larger than life character and that demanded a larger than life screen presence; someone who was at ease in the skin of a slightly unconventional criminal. It would seem the role was written for Ray Winstone.
"Ray Winstone of course is a screen mythology that works for this story," agrees James. "He's a great actor whom I've known since Scum on television, and of course he's a Londoner. And that felt appropriate too, to have as many true born Londoners in the film as we've got people from the working classes. So Ray very enthusiastically embraced the role."
"The whole fantasy of being an actor is having the opportunity to play out the parts you would never get a chance to do, like be a burglar!" says Ray.
Joe had worked with Ray previously, having cast him in a couple of his plays at the Royal Court, and was keen to collaborate with him again on King Of Thieves. As it happens, Ray had a personal connection to the story, having grown up with the family of Danny Jones, and so like Michael had a genuine interest in being involved in King Of Thieves, but everything was dependent on a good script. He told Joe, 'you write a good script and I'll do it.'
"It was like that all the way through," says Joe, "A load of people wanting to work together and this story being to engine to it."
Of course Ray is no stranger to stories about villains and their crimes, and is celebrated for hard men roles such as Gal in Sexy Beast and Colin in 44 Inch Chest. It's not often however he has the opportunity to portray real villains, be they friend or foe.
"Sexy Beast is made up, so you are playing a character you can develop yourself. They are exciting stories, but this one's about real people. In this I'm playing someone who is real and who is alive and because of that it puts an added pressure on it. But when a film like this comes along, or like Jaw Bone, you get a buzz about going back to work and do the things you want to do. It's like I'm starting again. Because sometimes I think 'I've had enough of this, lets retire and die in grace' and then I do King Of Thieves and you know what, I'm enjoying this again."
Tom Courtenay is John Kenny Collins
At 75 years of age, John 'Kenny' Collins has a long string of convictions for crimes, including robbery, handling stolen goods and fraud, dating back to 1961. Described as 'wombat-thick' by his accomplices, during the trial prosecutors said he 'lost the plot' in the weeks after the raid.
Collins is portrayed by the venerable Sir Tom Courtenay, who at 81 years of age has 6 years on his subject.
"I was very intrigued by the story, as everyone was at the time. The fact that they were so old and adventurous, tunnelling as they did into the vault…and I was very impressed with Joe Penhall's script and the cast, all of which I knew, apart from Paul – he was the only one I didn't know and he was delightful. It was a very attractive job to be offered. We were all so different, and I think that we were made a very good group. We all had something to offer."
As for Collins, "well, he's the least distinguished criminal. He's the getaway and look out man and he's not very competent. I think they just sort of like him although he does put them off. 'Cause he's extremely deceitful and inceptive. In fact I put in a word in the script, duplicitous. He's very duplicitous. And it's his two facedness, which amused me very much. It made me laugh when I read him."
"The characters are very matey. and jokey. And they've known one another for a long time. But the sheer pressure of that money being available is more than they can deal with. And they do fall out because of that. Because nobody trusts anybody else. I mean I think that's the most interesting, and it's funny too. That they're all devious."
Charlie Cox is Basil
There remains the enigma that is Basil, the 5th member of the gang who is the most enigmatic: a faceless lynchpin that got away - or did he? Conspiracies continue to spiral around his identity and what fate, if any, befell him - but it is all conjecture, theory and hearsay. King Of Thieves is only interested in the facts.
"The Basil character is a bit of a mystery and we wanted to keep it that way," says Michelle. "There are different theories as to what happened, but the film we are making is based on what we know to be true. There are a lot of missing loops to the story, but we've never chased any of those ideas."
At 35 years, Charlie Cox, who plays Basil, is the youngest of the cast. He was living in London at the time of the heist and the media circus that erupted in its wake.
"Very rarely do you read a story about a bunch of thieves and when it all came to light, it was such a grandiose gesture, and then we find out they are in their 70s, and there's a little part of you that can't help but back them. It sounds awful really, because people lost everything, but as Brits we love the underdog, the story of people defying odds. And I think what Joe does magnificently with the script is he really gets you there, to that place, but then he reminds you who these people are. They are not cheeky chappies. You see some real ugliness amongst them. On the one hand they are good friends, but when it comes to the slaughter, as they call it, it starts to get very back-stabby and gossipy."
Charlie was the last key player to be cast. Living in New York at the time, he was completely unaware the film was in pre-production stages, and when James called him about the film, it was eye opening on more than one level.
"I was in New York when I received an email from James Marsh asking if I had time for a chat. I had to call him from a payphone because I was out in the countryside, and he explained how he was hoping to get me involved with this film and when he reeled off the list of actors I just couldn't believe it!"
Charlie's brief was very different to the others. Whilst all the players in this tale are known, their actions and the events that took recorded, Basil is completely unknown, his true identity a mystery. He is the faceless piece in the puzzle, who has no past, no future. The only proof to his existence is the CCTV footage from Hatton Garden, and then his identity was disguised. With such thin foundations from which to work, how did Charlie find a way into being Basil?
"It's been a very interesting discovery," Charlie admits. "Basil is interesting because he is the one guy we don't know anything about, and so we get to invent him a little bit. Before my involvement, there was a period of time when people were interested in him being the mastermind behind it all, and then I think that idea seemed a little bit on the nose and not quite as interesting. I got the call on the Friday and was on the plane on the Sunday, flew in, landed and went straight into rehearsals. It was really last minute, so when I came in, it was trying to decide, in the story of this script, what are the key points that shed some light on 15 Basil that are facts. And then where are the areas we can invent and tell a great story with - so we settled on trying to avoid this idea of setting him up as a mastermind and just play him as a regular guy."
"We've invented that character completely," says James. "We've made him into a slightly different class than the other characters, a different generation for sure. And there's something slightly off about this character. He seems to be an obsessive, compulsive in some way. Charlie played it that way rather beautifully, I thought. The character in our version of our story is very much in league with Michael Caine's character."
"I've tried to add a slightly curious twist to him which makes him a little bit socially awkward, a bit of an outsider, because I think you need to explain why, if Basil has a key, he doesn't use his own mates who are of an age who could accomplish the job more realistically - and I think it's because he doesn't have any mates," Charlie says. "He goes to Brian because Brian has a network of friends. He was part of a criminal group, you would imagine he would turn to them and get in and out really quickly. These were analogue villains in a digital world, a world that Basil would understand, so I think you have to explain that aspect of it, why he would turn to them."
Being the youngest kid on the block, it must have been quite daunting being thrown in with legends of the screen.
"These guys are veterans, they've been doing this all their lives, so I am learning a huge amount from them," Charlie responds. He then recounts a scene in which he has to wake Tom Courtenay's character up, who has fallen asleep whilst on watch. After telling him to wake up, James suggested he says something before he leaves the room, as the scene doesn't feel right with him just walking out with no line.
"James says 'I think you should say a line to remind him to stay awake as it feels weird just walking away', so I saw that he had a coffee mug on the window sill, so I said 'come on Kenny stay awake! Drink your coffee.' And I walked off, and as I'm walking away I heard him say [and he impersonates Tom's sleepy voice], ''it's cocoa'. He didn't know I was going to say that line. He's just so on it! They are just real pros."
"The thing I feel very proud about, and why I feel very lucky to be here, is that I don't think there will be many actors of my generation in fifteen years time that will have had a chance to work with some of these guys. It's a massive privilege. And they are all very funny. Michael is hilarious and Paul's knock-out funny many times a day."
Paul Whitehouse is Carl Wood
Paul Whitehouse plays Carl Wood, a trusted associate of the ringleaders, who was recruited as an extra pair of hands' to pull off the heist. Whilst Carl didn't go through with the heist, scarpering mid way through the job when the drill broke down, he was sentenced to six years for his part in the burglary.
"Carl Wood got out quite early on," says Paul. "He sensed there would be problems and legged it, as did Brian Reader. If you're half way through a job like that and the initial stages go wrong, the sensible people would leg it, so my character got out early."
Whilst Carl was the second youngest of the gang, at 59, he was not without his ailments - in his case, Chrohn's disease. What with the list of ailments suffered by the other gang members – diabetes, arthritis, etc., it adds to the sense of the heist being a last hurrah.
"I think it adds to the romanticism of the film and why people were drawn to it when the crime took place initially," says Paul. "These guys are taking pills and all sorts of prescriptions and that gives them an element of vulnerability, which is appealing. They're not psychopathic young guns."
"It's a crime you are allowed to like," he continues. "Everyone likes a heist, and obviously, that they were of a certain age was appealing. It gives hope to us OAPs [he laughs]. But also the fact that it was a victimless crime, in that no one got hurt, and that whatever they found was possibly ill gotten gains in its own right, so there's a sort of Robin Hood element to it, although I can't imagine they were redistributing the wealth, not exactly from the many to the few, more like from the few to the less few! But it is a caper. You couldn't have dreamed it up really."
With such larger than life actors sharing the same screen space, the pressure on set and behind camera could so easily have been felt. How did James approach this as a director? "You're there and it's your first day and you're very anxious," admits James. "The first scene I shot with the actors is the scene in Belmarsh prison, where they're all getting ready to go to court. It's the end of the story and I've got them all there - Paul Whitehouse, Ray Winstone, Michael Caine, Tom Courtenay and Jim Broadbent - and they've got to take their clothes off in this first scene, straight down to their underwear [he laughs as he recalls the scene]. And I've got to direct this! I'm dealing with these formidable actors, it's my first day - but thankfully it goes off like a dream. The actors so enjoy playing off each other. They have a music together already, and at that point you realise this is going to work, and that your job now is to give them the right circumstances to do their work, and not to get in their way, not to micromanage their performance. You want to allow them the freedom to inhabit these characters, and engage with each other in the way that they do, and by doing so you've got these amazingly good actors enjoying every exchange they have with each other."
Whilst James makes it sound easy, he put an awful lot of emphasis on preparation, rehearsing for weeks with the actors ahead of cameras turning.
"We rehearsed quite a bit beforehand and it all just became music when they were together, like a little jazz band. Once we started shooting, the idea for me was just not to get in their way, not to impede what they want to do,"says James. "We improvised quite a bit off the script. The actors were able to offer one-liners and adlibs, some of which are really funny, and some of which are in the film."
"There was quite a bit of improvisation. James encouraged it," Tom recalls. "I mean often we started in earnest when the scene was over and I think a lot of that stuff will get used. He's intelligent and sympathetic and encouraged us to be ourselves and express ourselves."
"James Marsh is diamond," says Ray. "His record speaks for itself. I loved Theory Of Everything. That was a proper bit of work. And you can see why he's good. He comes in and is chilled on set and it's lovely. It's like going to have a coffee round your mates' house [he laughs]. But he's proper. He knows his stuff, does his homework as all directors should."
"James brings relaxation, choice and he listens to you. He's one of the most wonderful directors I've ever worked with," agrees Michael.
Never The Twain Shall Meet
Playing real people can offer a wealth of information for actors in order to build the layers of their characters - and with so much written about the gang, it would not be presumptuous to assume that was the case for the cast on King Of Thieves. But criminals are, of course, shadowy figures. Their exploits may be infamous, but they remain hidden from view. As the cast prepared for the role, there was much discussion as to whether it was wise for them to meet their subjects. In the case of Brian Reader and Michael, the decision was taken out of their hands.
"Brian's very private," says Michelle. "Duncan says he lies very low and doesn't want the attention. It's in the script that way too. So a meeting was always off the table."
"Trying to play Brian without having met or heard him was the most challenging aspect of making this film," admits Michael. "All I needed was one minute's conversation, and that would have been fine. I wanted to hear his voice more than anything," he adds. "I never did of course, but I got a very good idea of how thick a cockney accent he would have because Joe, our writer, interviewed his daughter, and she asked him who was playing her father and he said Michael Caine, and she said 'he's too rough.' Which to me meant she saw me as a cockney talking in a very heavy accent [he mimics a heavy cockney accent]. People tend to have images of you that are not quite correct. And so I thought that was an incredible excuse not to have to use an incredibly thick cockney accent. Not to mention he married a woman from Dulwich and they lived in Blackheath, so I figured he would have a very light cockney accent, which helped me tremendously."
In fact, Michael says softening the South London accent was a shrewd move in terms of the American market. "I had to do 120 loops for Alfie because they didn't know what the bloody hell I was talking about! So I brought it back to an accent more like mine – cockney but understandable."
But in spite of not having met the man himself, Duncan affirms that Michael's performance totally encapsulates the man.
"Brian is not a wild, extrovert man, like some of the people in the criminal fraternity are larger than life characters. Brian is not like that. If you were to meet him he would not be asserting himself or displaying a huge ego, and I think Michael has captured that side of him."
Not having access to the gang meant the actors were more reliant than ever on Joe's research.
"Joe had done a massive amount of research, which was helpful," says Jim. "There's no footage of Terry, very few images, and what there was of the police interviews he's just saying 'no comment', so it wasn't terribly useful. So I basically went with Joe's research and what he found out."
Would Jim have met with Terry had the opportunity arisen? "Probably not," he says. "It would have been misleading. He might be so different from how I am playing him."
"I wouldn't dream of going to see the man in jail," says Tom, about John Kenny Collins. "I learnt the lines. That's the best research you can do. And in any case I didn't base my character on him. I based him on the script and me. I had one lesson in cockney, but then I had Michael, Paul and Raymondo (Ray) to help me."
Of all the actors, Ray was the only one to meet with his subject, not least because he knew the family well, having grown up in the same neighbourhood. In the run up to production Ray visited Danny in prison a few times, so his insights go far beyond the media's portrayal. "I have quite a lot of inside information on Danny because I kind of know him. He's very laid back, very dry. He's raised money for charity walking the Serengeti, travelled to the North Pole. He's climbed mountains. The kid is fit. But he is a robber. I met Bruce Reynolds (Great Train Robber) a few years ago who was one of the nicest men in the world, but he just had this thing where he wanted to get into places he's just not allowed to get into, you know," Ray says ruefully. "They are intelligent people."
Play It Straight For Laughs
A serious subject deserves a serious approach, and yet there is a comedic element, verging on Ealing'esque, to King Of Thieves that is difficult to ignore; a modern-day Lavender Hill Mob where the heroes are rogues that one just can't help but root a little for.
"These old villains decide that they're going to do this very old fashioned crime, and they actually do it rather well, but what they don't know, because they don't live in the world that we live in, is that there are surveillance, cameras everywhere in London," says James. "Everywhere we walk, everywhere we go, we are being filmed. And they just don't know this. They don't know much about the internet, they don't know about mobile phones being tracked, so they go into this crime ignorant of the modern world. And the comedy lies somewhat in that juxtaposition between their innocence, as it would seem, and the sort of sophisticated snooping of the modern world."
"They had so little knowledge of CCTV and digital, it was quite astounding," says Michelle. "These were cash criminals, people who didn't use the internet, probably only ever used cash transactions and clearly never looked up! It was hard not to root for them, and even though Duncan would keep reminding us that they are not nice guys, I strangely would still find myself rooting for them."
Whilst the crime they committed is by no means funny for the victims who lost so much, not forgetting the families of the accused who would suffer as a consequence of their crime and imprisonment, there was an undeniably lighter edge that James was interested in capturing. "James wanted to make something fun," explains Michelle. "He thought that given the climate of the times it would be nice to have some comedy with these legendary actors."
"As in all heist films, most that I know and love in any case, the structure is given to you," says James. "There's planning, execution, and aftermath. And the aftermath is often a bitter fight over the spoils. Indeed this is a case in the true story. It's a sort of ugly back-biting, back-stabbing scenario where everyone's turning on each other. So there's great comedy to be had in those characters clashing."
That said, the film was never intended to be a straight comedy.
"The idea was always to take the subject seriously, but there were elements to it that were unambiguously funny," says Joe. "Very old men doing very difficult, physical tasks for reasons of greed and opportunism. That's funny. People being treacherous towards each other because they are greedy and opportunistic and people making ridiculous mistakes, as the gang do, is naturally funny. They all got caught because they made stupid mistakes, so from the start we knew it was funny, but the thing about being funny in drama is to do it as real as you can and play the truth of it. All of the actors are such superlative actors that if you get them to play the truth of it, it will be screamingly funny in places. The moment you start cueing people that this is comedy, it lets the air out of the tyres, so you have to sneak up on people and let them discover the comedy and absurdity of the situation. Ray, Michael, Paul, Jim and Tom are very funny actors. They are very funny to be around, so you don't have to write a gag fest. You can keep it serious, and because they are smart they will figure out the paradoxes and the ironies. Film and TV are dominated by genre, and before you start you have to convince people what it is you are doing – is it comedy, is it drama, is it scary, is it serious, is it worthy – but I don't believe in that. Inadvertently this is a funny film, but it wasn't designed to be a comedy."
The film never sets out to disrespect those who lost, but there are light moments to the telling of the story that float above the more weighted seriousness, and those were inescapably humorous for Michael. "We were doing a scene yesterday and we just did a movement which was quite dramatic. It certainly wasn't supposed to be funny, but when they played it back to me and I saw these old men doing this movement, it was very funny. And that's what I've noticed about in the shooting – we're just completely natural old men doing something not very nice, stealing stuff from people, but it's somehow funny they way that it is."
"All of them have deficiencies, the indignities of old age essentially," continues James.
"Tom's character is basically stone deaf so you add that to the mix. It's not something that you want to make fun of elderly people's health issues, but this was the case in the story. It impacted the crime, it impacted how they went about it and what they had to plan for. So they're planning not just to rob a vault, they're planning their sort of medication around the twenty-four hours they're going to spend drilling these three holes into the wall. That's the true story, and there is comedy to be had from that, because it's life. We all grow old."
In the case of King Of Thieves, the drama clearly sits comfortably with the comedy. "It's a little bit of both," agrees Michelle. "The tone of it will be humour, and there will be some emotional sides to it too. I think by the end audiences are going to be rooting for them. Bottom line, we wanted to do a really amazing version of the story, with Michael Caine leading a great cast."
"It's a serious burglary, but because they are so old, what they are doing is very funny," says Michael. "I was amazed at the laughs in it. I did a scene with Jim and we didn't do anything, we just looked one way and then another and it was just hilarious because we missed each other, but we didn't do it on purpose. We had to look in certain ways and at a certain time according to the script. I think this film will be funnier than people think it is." "There's a lot of humour and tension and the humour comes from the tension," explains Jim. "The dynamics between the characters are quite complex, more so than most of us.
Hopefully it will all come out to the backdrop of this rather extraordinary, audacious crime."
"It seems to me like a film of two halves," adds Ray, "You see the first bit as quite fun, and the second bit where it goes quite dark. I quite like films like that. Sexy Beast was a bit like that. It started off where you thought you were watching a comedy, and then all of a sudden Dom's turned up, you know Gandhi with muscles, and the film becomes something else.
And I think we've got that kind of vibe going on here." "When James called me initially he said 'we are trying just to tell the story, but I think we might actually be making a comedy,'" says Charlie. "But not because they were attempting to. When I read the script that is the aspect I really admired, in that there will be moments that are really quite humorous, but only if they are told really for truth. If you ham it up in any way you are in real danger of robbing it of any greatness. Just the fact that Terry was diabetic, and he needed to have insulin and be injected in the bum three times a day during the burglary, even on it's own that is funny. You've just got to display it."
Coming as he does from the documentary world, documenting the facts and letting it play is a smart move on the director's part. Charlie recounts a scene they shot the other day in which the gang pulls up in the van at Hatton Garden at the start of the heist. "In my mind I have an image of what that scene is going to look and feel like, after all it's the beginning of the heist, the job is on." He claps his hands to a fast rhythm to convey the urgency and tension of the moment he is imagining. "And yet this van pulls up, I open the door to the HGSD, and then there's this beat, one of the door of the van opens and Michael steps out, reaches in and gets his hat and then his bag, and he's going at the pace he can go at that point. So it takes five minutes for them to get in the building! If you wink at it the comedy of that moment is ruined, so just let it be."
"I'm very conscious that you can't play it whacky," says Paul, "You've got to be reasonably convincing. The humour is where it exists, in the situation. You have to play it straight. This is not Clouseau, they are not bumbling idiots. What they did is actually quite dramatic and ultimately well planned. And they did it."
Shooting On Location & Production Design
Whilst the scenes in the vault were recreated at Ealing Studios, the majority of the film was shot on location, taking full advantage of London, from the suburbs of Ealing, to Hatton Garden itself. It was the filming at Hatton that presented the greatest challenge for the locations team. Not only did they have to ease the way locally for a number of night shoots, but there was a sizeable amount of day shoots that demanded careful balancing so as not to disrupt business for the local traders. Not an easy proposition when taking into account that one of the scenes involved large crowds and overhead helicopters.
"The hardest element was actually the night shoots," says Supervising Locations Manager Eugene Strange. "We had to persuade them to let us shoot at Hatton for six nights, through the night in a highly residential area, which is very unusual."
"The initial reaction was quite positive," says Locations Manager Eleri Coulten. "Quite a few of the local businesses wanted us to deal with the subject delicately because obviously a lot of people lost money, but also they think it's quite good promotion for the area, so there was quite a lot of support for what we were doing. And having the actors we have in the film was quite helpful!"
Worth noting that King Of Thieves is the first feature film crew to have been given permission to shoot at Hatton - but the providence of the film helped the locations team with the access.
"The fact that it's going to be released around the world and has the star power, made the residents and shop owners of Hatton more comfortable about our plans," says Eugene. "This is an area that historically is not as booming as it once was. So for them, our film raises raise awareness for the area."
Entering Hatton Garden is almost like stepping back in time to a London that, like the cockney rhyming slang that interweaves the story, is slowly being erased. "What struck us most when we came here to scout the area was how unique it is," says Production Designer Chris Oddy. "It's got it's own character, it's own atmosphere and it is different from anywhere else. There used to be parts of London that had the lineage of history about them, that had their own flavor, but they are becoming fewer and fewer. Hatton Garden is standalone. All its characters are unique to here. Along with the line of shops [mainly jewelers and precious stone merchants] it feels stuck in time."
Given the unique flavor of the area, it was very important to the film-makers that they shoot there, but whilst the exterior scenes and reception of HGSD are all authentic, for the interior vault scenes, a set needed to be built.
"We were hoping to film in the location," explains Chris, "but various logistical reasons meant we couldn't. That offered us an opportunity to change it to suit us, so whilst the DNA of the vault remains the same, its proportions aren't. But the obstacles they had to overcome to get inside the vault are as is."
Chris is referring to the concrete wall through which the gang drilled, faithfully recreated in the studio to exact dimensions: 50cm thick through which they would drill three holes 25cm high and 45cm wide, using the Hilti DD350.
"Most of what we are shooting is on location so the set needs to adopt that same rigour." In addition to extensive filming in and around London, the film-makers also tapped into the seaside town of Margate, in Kent, once a centre for fencing diamonds. Whilst this was not Joe's original motivation for grounding some of the film in Margate, it started to become part of it.
"The original impulse was a subconscious one, to stick Brian somewhere at the end of the country, a place that was not gentrified, but by the same token somewhere that was cinematically interesting and fascinating," explains Joe. "And as I learnt more about Margate's past, it really helped a lot, because of course some of them didn't know what to do with the goods they stole, and one of the things Reader was planning to do was to come here and fence them and take them to Europe. And we know that that's pretty close to the real story. So it was serendipitous. This funny little location has become the lightning rod for much of the film."
Margate is the setting for the meeting between Basil and Reader, where it becomes obvious to Reader that he's been fobbed off by the gang.
"Something about Margate grabbed us, because it was a really nice juxtaposition between new and old architecture," says Production Designer Chris Oddy. "Especially between the age difference between Basil and Reader, it felt like it was a good juxtaposition for them." In fact the hotel in which they have a tense stand off over a cup of tea, was one of the few locations that needed little to no set dressing. What you see is what you get, even down to the crockery and curtains.
"I didn't want to change anything really. It just felt spot on."
Cockney Rhyming Slang
It takes a thief to catch a thief, and never was this more the case than with the Hatton Garden gang. Whilst the police had the CCTV footage that pinned the gang to Hatton Garden at the time leading up to the robbery, if the court was to convict them, they had to build a water-tight case.
So began a lengthy surveillance operation, with the gang being tailed, their calls monitored and conversations eavesdropped, but there-in lay the problem: no one could understand what they were saying.
"They would speak cockney, a slang version of English that originated to foil police," Michelle explains.
Cockney Rhyming Slang is a form of language that originated in London's East End as far back as the 1840s, as a way of obscuring the meaning of sentences to those who did not understand the slang. Why it was invented depends on who you talk to – some say it was created by market traders to disguise what they were saying from customers and passers by, others say it was prison talk, so inmates could speak freely without the knowledge of the wardens.
Whatever its origins, the language has slowly seeped into modern parlance. 'Use your loaf' or 'have a butchers' are just two of the common phrases used throughout the UK that originate from Cockney Rhyming Slang. The phrases are derived from taking an expression that rhymes with a word and then using that expression instead of the word, for example: Butchers hook – look; Loaf of Bread – head; Dog & Bone – phone; Trouble & strife – wife. It's a colourful and playful language, but who better to explain the gist of this old London speak, than East End born and bred Sir Michael Caine?
"The choice phrases for cockney are all in rhyming slang. A girl is a 'Richard' – Richard the Third - a bird. I speak fluent rhyming slang. All cockney boys speak it. My wife is Indian and she speaks it fluently and so do my daughters. We have conversations with each other in front of people and they don't know what we're talking about."
"An old mate of mine from Stepney thinks that cockney rhyming slang is the height of bad behavior," says Paul Whitehouse. "But a couple of my favourites are 'Aristotle - bottle', 'bottle and glass - arse'. A couple of more obscure ones is 'ice cream freezer - geezer'; 'linen draper - paper'. So there you go. There's a few slightly unusual ones!"
"I like the way cockney develops," muses Jim. "You get the old ones like 'tealeaf, thief', but, who has tealeaves these days [he laughs]. But there are new ones, like 'you're having a Steffi, 'Steffi Graff – Laugh'! So it's always evolving."
So, for international audiences who might struggle to pick up the meaning of the language, what words of wisdom can the actors impart?
"Oh, just go with the flow," says Ray. "That slang all came from thieves years ago so you wouldn't understand it. So, you haven't got to understand it really. There's a few words we drop, but that's the talk and that's part of the atmosphere the audience. It's for the Old Bill listening and if you can't understand it then good! You're not supposed to, and that's the point. That's what slang is."
The Hatton Garden Burglary - In Numbers
25m Most up to date estimate of the haul
448 Combined age of the gang
77 Age of Reader at time of the crime
75 Age of Collins
72 Security boxes raided
67 Age of Perkins
60 Age of Billy the Fish
59 Age of Carl Wood
50 cm thickness of concrete wall in the vault
49 Age of Doyle at time of the crime
Brian Reader, 77
The oldest of the gang and described as 'the last of the gentlemen thieves.' Travelled to the robbery on a bus using a pensioner's 'Freedom Pass'.
Jailed in 1986 for his part in the 1983 Brinks Mat Robbery in which £26m in gold bullion was stolen
One of the country's most prolific jewel thieves, involved in raids and heists totalling more than £200 million
At the age of 32, Reader was also among the gang of master thieves who were dubbed the Millionaire Moles.
The group managed to tunnel about 40 feet into a Central London bank vault in 1971, escaping with £3 million.
Terry Perkins, 67
Career criminal involved in the 1986 Security Express heist
John 'Kenny' Collins, 75
Long string of convictions for crimes including robbery, handling stolen goods and fraud dating back to 1961
Described as 'wombat-thick' by his accomplices and prosecutors said he 'lost the plot' in the weeks after the raid.
Daniel Jones, 61
A lengthy criminal record dating back to 1975, with convictions for robbery, handling stolen goods and burglary.
Described as an 'eccentric Walter Mitty' character during the trial
Quartermaster William 'Billy the Fish' Lincoln, 60:
So called because he would buy fish at Billingsgate and sell on to his friends.
A string of convictions for attempted burglary, burglary and attempted theft between 1975 and 1985
His most recent conviction was for battery in 2013
Carl Wood, 59:
A trusted associate of the ringleaders, recruited as an 'extra pair of hands' to pull off the heist.
Hugh Doyle, 49:
• • A trusted friend of John 'Kenny' Collins who offered up his workshop as an exchange point for the handover of stolen goods.
Centre of Diamond Trade for centuries
Around 300 business there
Largest cluster of Jewellery Stores in the UK
Long favoured target for Thieves
Cutting Edge High Security Vault was built in the 1940s in the basement of 88-90 Hatton Garden - 2ft Wide bomb and bullet proof door
One-of-a-kind in Britain
Nearly 1000 individual safes are contained within the vault
Majority of contents of the vault were owned by Hatton Garden Jewellers
Timeline of the Hatton Garden Heist
December 11, 2014
Two £3,500 Hilti DD350 drills and another £63,000 of equipment are stolen from a construction site on Fetter Lane, London. Hilti only sells a few hundred units of that type of drill.
January 16, 2015
Jones, Perkins and Collins meet at The Castle pub in Islington, North London. The pub becomes a regular spot for the men to meet and plan the raid.
Between mid-February and late March 2015
The gang meet a number of times and carry out reconnaissance trips around Hatton Garden Safe Deposit. They knew that the safe would be full and the area quiet due to the holidays.
March 31, 2015
Dressed in blue overalls, Perkins accesses HGSD pretending to service the lift.
April 1, 2015 (Wednesday)
An underground fire breaks out in the nearby Holborn neighbourhood and burns for several days. There were still problems over the Bank Holiday break. The fire disables the neighborhood and ties up emergency services for days.
April 2, 2015 (Thursday)
Brian Reader uses an Oyster Freedom Pass to board the 96 bus from Dartford, and then exits Waterloo East station, before boarding the 55 bus which takes him within five minutes of Hatton Garden. Security Guard last to leave at 6pm was not due to return until Tuesday, four days later.
At 21:23, after staff at Hatton Garden close up for the Bank Holiday weekend, Basil gains access to HGSD Minutes later, at 21.27: A white Ford Transit van pulls up outside with the rest of the gang. The men are captured on CCTV dragging wheelie bins into the building.
They sent the lift to the second floor then disable the sensor, so the doors would close, and the lift couldn't move; they left a handwritten 'Out of Order' sign in case it was discovered. Danny and Basil went down the shaft as they were the fittest of the gang.
They attempted to deactivate the intruder alarm by cutting telephone wire and snapping back-up transmitter aerial; cut power cable for iron gate and smashed through wooden door to allow the rest of the gang through. They also cut through second metal gate (protecting the vault) with an angle grinder.
The gang used a specialist diamond tipped high powered coring drill designed to penetrate concrete and stone, which was fitted with metal teeth known as 'cores' which grind away at the surface to create a hole. The drill was capable of spinning at 667 RPM and had a water cooling system to prevent overheating. The gang learned to use the drill by watching clips on YouTube.
They planned to drill a hole 25cmx45cm (big enough for someone small to squeeze through; Danny and Basil were the only two to enter the vault, forced open 73 safe deposit boxes, and filled bags and wheelie bins with jewels, gold, precious stones and cash.
April 3, 2015 (Good Friday)
At 00:21 the burglar alarm is triggered. The police do not respond until 1 hour later. The guard examined the front door and peered through the letter box. After determining it was a false alarm, they left.
Police were also notified of the alarm, but the call wasn't graded properly which meant they didn't think they needed to respond 07:52"8:12: the white van returns, the gang load up equipment and leave
April 4, 2015 (Easter Saturday)
Shortly after 10pm only three of the gang return to the scene
April 5, 2015 (Easter Sunday)
In the early hours of the morning the gang load up the white van with the haul and equipment and leave
April 7, 2015 (Tuesday)
At 08.10 the Met Flying Squad are called to the scene after the burglary is discovered by security guards.
Up to mid-May, 2015
The "ringleaders" continue to meet at The Castle pub, and plan to transfer the stolen goods to an address in Sterling Road, Enfield. By this time they are subject to visual surveillance by police.
May 14, 2015 onwards
Detectives place covert audio recording devices in Collins's white Mercedes and Perkins's blue Citroen Saxo.
The probes capture the men boasting about pulling off the biggest burglary in English history, and how the loot will be distributed.
May 16, 2015
Jones is seen pulling a large plastic bucket into the Sterling Road address. This is later found to be full of jewels.
May 17, 2015
Collins suggests using the car park outside Hugh Doyle's workshop - by the Old Wheatsheaf pub in Enfield - to exchange the stolen goods so that they would not be seen by the police.
May 18, 2015
Jones and Perkins are recorded moving bins into Jones's driveway. Collins visits Doyle's workshop.
May 19, 2015 Taxi driver Jon Harbinson allegedly drives the stolen goods to the car park next to the Old Wheatsheaf pub and Doyle's workshop.
William Lincoln, Jones and Collins allegedly transfer the stolen items from the taxi into Collins's Mercedes. Jones and Perkins join Collins at Sterling Road.
Police raid the address, the loot is seized and the men are arrested.
September 4, 2015
Reader, Perkins, Jones and Collins plead guilty to conspiracy to commit burglary. Jones later promised to lead police to his stash.
October 8, 2015
After police search a cemetery in Edmonton, they discover two bags stuffed with jewels under memorial stones connected to Jones's partner's family.
October 15, 2015
Jones is escorted out of Belmarsh so that he can lead officers to where he says he has hidden his share of the stolen goods.
November 23, 2015
Carl Wood, Harbinson, William Lincoln and Doyle go on trial at Woolwich Crown Court accused of being involved in the raid. Harbinson was cleared of the two offences. His defence was that he did not know what was in the bags.
Reference: The Independent, The Mirror
King Of Thieves
Release Date: February 28th, 2019