Michael Seed: Hatton Garden burglar 'Basil' jailed for 10 years over £14m heist

March 13, 2019

The mystery Hatton Garden ringleader known as "Basil" has been jailed for 10 years after he was found guilty for his part in the £14m heist.

Alarm specialist Michael Seed, 58, was convicted of conspiracy to burgle over his role disabling the security system, as well as a charge of conspiracy to hide the proceeds.

He evaded capture for three years before police raided his flat in Islington, north London - around two miles away from the scene of the crime - last March.

In the heist over the Easter bank holiday weekend in April 2015, Seed is believed to have let himself in to the building in London's diamond district using a set of keys before getting past security at the Hatton Garden Safe Deposit Company.

Seed was one of two men who squeezed through the hole that was drilled in the vault.

They then gained access to safety boxes in the heist, looting 73 of them.

Seed was cleared of a charge of conspiracy to burgle relating to a £1m burglary at the Chatila jewellery store in Bond Street over the late August bank holiday weekend in 2010.

He had denied all the charges.

Passing sentence at Woolwich Crown Court, Judge Christopher Kinch QC said: "Your role was a central one. You were at the heart of the core activities that had to be carried out.

"You were not just there to fetch and carry.

"In my judgement this must rank among the worst offences of its type."

Police raided his one-bedroom council flat in Liverpool Road, Islington, on 27 March 2018.

Officers seized more than 1,000 items from his home, with most of them stolen in the Hatton Garden raid.

They were valued at more than £143,000.

Seed, an electronics expert who was unemployed, told police he was a jewellery worker when he was arrested.

He claimed the heist gang's ringleader John "Kenny" Collins had given him a mass of jewellery to take apart and melt down.

Seed had been seen on a police surveillance camera meeting with Collins.

Police found specialist electronic devices in his flat such as motion detectors, alarm blockers and radio jammers.

Seed claimed he made radio jammers for fun and denied being "Basil".

CCTV footage shared during the trial showed that Seed and "Basil" had the same distinctive walk.

A podiatrist likened it to that of Charlie Chaplin.

The four Hatton Garden heist ringleaders Collins, 78, Brian Reader, 79, Daniel Jones, 61, Carl Wood, 61, and Terry Perkins, who died last year aged 69 - were caught within weeks of the raid and later jailed.

Jones wrote to Sky's Martin Brunt while he was in prison and told him Basil was still on the run.

He said he didn't know Basil's true identity but had heard he was a former police officer.

Most of the Hatton Garden loot, around £10m worth, is still missing.

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