How the Hatton Garden robbery was carried out

A police forensics officer enters the Hatton Garden Safe Deposit company. Credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

Only a "limited" number of people would be capable of carrying out a heist as well-planned as that seen in London's Hatton Garden, the police officer leading the investigation has said.

Speaking at the scene of the Hatton Garden Safe Deposit company robbery today, Detective Chief Inspector Paul Johnson of the Flying Squad gave new details on how police believe it was carried out.

According to the Flying Squad:

  • The thieves disabled the communal lift on the second floor, then climbed down the lift shaft into the basement, where the safety deposit company operated

  • They forced open shutter doors before making their way into the vault area

  • Once outside the vault area, the robbers used a Hilti DD 350 drill - worth around £3,500 - to bore holes into the vault wall, which is 3 metres thick and made from reinforced concrete

  • After getting inside, they forced open up to 70 safety deposit boxes

  • They then left numerous power tools and departing the vault covered in dust, debris and discarded safety deposit boxes

  • There was no sign of forced entry from the outside of the building

Police are currently unclear on the number of people involved in the robbery, but confirmed that an alarm was activated at the time.

DCI Johnson said the reason that the alarm was not responded to would form part of ongoing investigations.

Officers are now in the process of identifying who the boxes belonged to, and informing those affected.