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Dartford's Brian Reader, who masterminded Hatton Garden raid, at Woolwich Crown Court

The Dartford pensioner who masterminded Britain's biggest burglary was back in court today to claim he didn't make a penny from the heist.

Brian Reader, the man behind the £25m Hatton Garden raid in 2015, appeared at Woolwich Crown Court this morning for the start of a proceeds of crime hearing.

Only about £4m of the stolen gold and jewellery was ever recovered and the Crown Prosecution Service is now attempting to change that.

Hatton Garden 'mastermind' Brian Reader. Picture: Met Police
Hatton Garden 'mastermind' Brian Reader. Picture: Met Police

Reader and the other gang members could face an additional 14 years each in prison, on top of their current sentences, if they fail to give the money back, it was revealed today.

But the 78-year-old, who is seriously ill, argued today that he did not gain financially from the raid, during which the gang drilled through thick concrete to reach a vault in London’s famous jewellery quarter.

Reader's lawyer attempted to argue that he doesn't deserve a longer prison sentence as he did not receive a single penny from the stolen loot.

The court heard Reader pulled out of the heist after first night when the gang failed to drill into the vault.

The hole left at the Hatton Garden heist. Picture: Met Police
The hole left at the Hatton Garden heist. Picture: Met Police

Other gang members were recorded saying he doesn't deserve a penny, the hearing was told.

As the oldest gang member sat in the dock in a wheelchair, flanked by two prison guards, his lawyer pleaded with the judge to get Reader's part in the extra hearing over and done with as quickly as possible because he's so ill.

He has previously suffered a stroke, and is rumoured to be receiving treatment for cancer, and it was reported in March last year that he had just months to live.

The hearing will resume in January, when it is expected to last six weeks - about as long as the original trial.

The scene of the crime
The scene of the crime

The judge ruled Reader will have to appear in court next year alongside the other men.

Reader is currently serving a sentence of six years and three months after pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit burglary.

His accomplices John Collins, 75, Daniel Jones, 61, and Terry Perkins, 67, were jailed for seven years each for conspiracy to commit burglary.

Two others, Carl Wood, 59, and William Lincoln, 60, were convicted of conspiracy to commit burglary and conspiracy to conceal, convert or transfer criminal property. Wood was given six years in prison and Lincoln seven.

Hugh Doyle, 49, received a suspended sentence after he was found guilty of concealing, converting or transferring criminal property.

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