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A bungling robber has been jailed for thirteen years for his part in an attempted raid on a cash depot. But Raymond Betson's attempt to steal more than a million pounds failed - when he knocked down the wrong wall with the digger he'd stolen. Betson had previously been jailed for his part in the attempted robbery of the diamonds at the Millennium Dome in the year 2000. Andrea Thomas reports. She spoke to Detective Inspector Rob Haines.
Bungling ex-millenium Dome robber Ray Betson botched a cash depot raid by breaking down the wrong wall!
Betson, 52, of Clifton Crescent, Folkestone, targeted the Loomis cash depot in Mark Way, Swanley, in the early hours of Friday 23 March 2012.
Just before 5am a heavy-duty digger, which had been stolen, was driven into the outside wall of the depot in a bid to knock it over and allow the offenders to gain internal access.
The digger rammed the wall a number of times before one of the robbers, who were armed with baseball bats and white sacks, climbed over the rubble only to find an empty room. The group then entered a nearby empty warehouse only to find it was empty too.
Less than a minute later, the offenders ran off empty handed.
Police later discovered an abandoned Mitsubishi 4x4 in a field which had become grounded on a dip, but inside they found a two-way radio, a baseball bat and large white bags.
In a nearby bush, a balaclava, a snood and a running stopwatch were also found allowing officers to calculate the time on the stopwatch and link it to the attempted robbery.
DNA gathered from the snood and the balaclava provided a near perfect match to Betson – there was less than one in a billion chance it could match anyone else.
Bungling robber Ray Betson has been given a 13 year sentence today after his attempt to rob a multi-million pound cash depot in Swanley failed when he knocked down the wrong wall with a digger
Betson will only serve 6-7 years in prison the rest of the time he will be on licence in the community.
He tried to break into the Swanley cash depot only months after being released jail for being the notorious ring leader of the Dome Raiders - the gang that planned to steal £200 million pounds worth of diamonds from the Millenium Dome, now called the O2.
The Dome Raiders planned to go down in history as the robbers who would pull off the biggest and most audacious robbery of the Millennium. An old fashioned smash-and-grab at a diamond exhibition in the Dome.
They boasted they would never be caught and prided themselves on their meticulous planning to keep them one step ahead of the law, using state of the art technology, anti-surveillance devices and had seemingly limitless funds for a sophisticated, military-styled operation which would reap a multi-million pound reward.
Ringleader Betson claimed they were not intending to hurt anyone when they smashed through the Dome entrance at high speed on a converted JCB digger dressed as terrorists with sledgehammers, ammonia and smoke grenades.
When they were caught red-handed they could not accept they had been simply out-manoeuvred by the Flying Squad.
At the trial one of the gang ruefully put it: "We would have got away with it but for the fact there were 140 police waiting for us."
Ray Betson has been sentenced to 13 years, half in custody and half on licence for trying to break into a bank months after being released from prison.
A bungling robber who failed to break into a cash depot in Kent when he attacked the wrong wall with a JCB will be sentenced today. Raymond Betson - who's 52 and from Clifton Crescent in Folkestone - was found guilty of armed robbery last month. Betson was the mastermind behind the failed Millenium Dome diamond heist.