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Scientists 'found DNA links to robbers in make-up bin'

A make-up artist was told she was ‘part of history’ after she helped pull off Britain’s cash robbery by disguising a team of robbers with false noses and chins, a court heard Wednesday.

Michelle Hogg, 32, worked at a hair salon for Michael Demetris, who carried out the £53 million raid with two cage fighters and six other accomplices, it is claimed.

She fitted latex disguises which the robbers hoped would make them impossible to identify when they posed as police officers to kidnap the Securitas depot manager in Tonbridge, Kent.

As news of the robbery flashed across the television, Demetris, 32, came to visit Hogg, it is claimed.

“As he entered her flat he asked her how it felt to be part of history,” said prosecutor Sir John Nutting.

Demetris allegedly added: "I knew you could do it."

Hogg has turned ‘Queen’s Evidence’ and testified against gang members at a previous trial after the prosecution agreed to drop the charges against her.

Stuart Royle, 48, Jetmir Bucpapa, 26, Lea Rusha, 35, Emir Hysenaj, 28, Roger Coutts, 30, were convicted for their parts in the robbery after a trial earlier this year. Demetris and Paul Allen, 30, are on trial while the alleged mastermind cage fighter Lee Murray, 29, languishes in a Moroccan jail awaiting extradition.

Hairdresser Hogg worked for Demetris at the Hair Hetic salon Forest Hill, South-East London and was asked to help with disguises after she gave Murray cosmetic treatment for a scar on his face and showed him a portfolio of her work as a make up artist.

Cane Patterson, who is now believed to on the run in Jamaica, took her to a theatrical supplier in Covent Garden to buy supplies.

Rusha and Murray were to kidnap depot manager Colin Dixon and his family disguised as policemen.

They had their faces and hair altered to prevent them being recognised by the victims.

Patterson was also disguised as a policeman because he went to the gatekeeper’s window at the Depot with Mr Dixon.

Royle, who drove the Renault 7.5 tonne truck to the depot used to carry off the cash was also given a mask.

Hogg took a week preparing the making of the masks and Demetris made the hairpieces, the court heard.

She spent most of the night of Sunday February 19, 2006, applying the disguises.

Rusha’s hair was dyed ginger and he had a false beard and moustache.

Murray was given a false chin, a thick moustache and his hair was dyed grey.

Patterson had a false chin, a wider flatter nose together with a collar length wig.

Royle’s grey hair was dyed dark brown.

After the raid on Tuesday February 21 Hogg threw away the material used to make the disguises which was later recovered from her rubbish bin.

In the bin scientists found DNA links to Demetris, Allen, Murray and Rusha, the court heard.

Also recovered were fibre links to the Dixon’s clothing which has been transferred to the robber’s disguises.

The court was told some £20m has been recovered by police since the robbery but millions more remains unaccounted for.

Allen, of Huntersfield Close, Chatham, Kent, and Demetris, of Bromley Common, Bromley, deny conspiracy to rob, conspiracy to kidnap and conspiracy to possess firearms.

The trial continues.

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