The escaped raider, known only as 'Basil', is said to be the 'brains' behind the operation
A mystery suspect who escaped after the Hatton Garden heist is a "former policeman", one of the plot's ring leaders has claimed.
The escaped raider, known only as "Basil", is said to be the "brains" behind the operation, according to a letter received by Sky News.
The letter, said to be from Danny Jones, who is currently at Belmarsh Prison awaiting sentence for the £14 million raid, reads: “I can say that someone told me he was an ex-policeman who got into security by the guy who introduced him to me.”
Sixty-year-old Mr Jones alleges Basil was informed about him from “a close friend on the police force” after he was arrested for a similar raid on Bond street in 2010.
He adds Basil was the “brains” behind the Hatton Garden raid, but that he knows little about the elusive raider, claiming to have only seen him around ‘four’ times throughout the operation.
Scotland Yard have offered a £20,000 reward for help to track down “Basil” – the sole remaining Hatton Garden raider at large with more than £10 million also missing from Britain’s biggest ever burglary.
The man called Basil by the plotters during conversations captured by police bugs, fled the scene and has not been identified despite officers’ viewing 1,200 hours of CCTV footage.
Mr Jones has been described as one of the most prominent figures in the burglary and reportedly researched methods of breaking into vaults from as far back as 2012.
Nine people have been convicted for the raid, which was meticulously prepared. It took the gang two nights to breach a vault containing safety deposit boxes over the Easter weekend last year, after which they got away with an estimated £14 million in gold, diamonds, sapphires and other valuables.
Carl Wood, William Lincoln and Hugh Doyle were found guilty of involvement in the "sophisticated" raid, after ringleaders John "Kenny" Collins, 75, Mr Jones, Terry Perkins, 67, and the group's oldest member, Brian Reader, 76, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit burglary last September.
Jon Harbinson, 42, of Beresford Gardens, Benfleet, Essex, was cleared of the two offences as the verdicts were read at Woolwich Crown Court.
All are due to be sentenced by Judge Christopher Kinch QC on 7 March.