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UK

TIMELINE - Record cash robbery

LONDON (Reuters) - Five men were found guilty on Monday of carrying out the country’s record heist -- a 53 million pound robbery from a cash depot in Kent.

Here is a chronology of the events leading up to the raid in the early hours of February 22, 2006.

February 21, 2006:

5.30 p.m.:

Colin Dixon, the manager of the Securitas depot in Tonbridge, Kent, leaves his office and starts his journey home. He telephones his wife to say he is on his way back.

Just before 6.30 p.m.:

Dixon is pulled over by an “unmarked police car” with flashing blue lights near the Three Squirrels Pub in Detling Hill, near Maidstone.

He is ushered into the car and then handcuffed. Dixon’s car is left dumped at the pub car park. He was told he was being taken to Maidstone police station. Shortly afterwards one of the “police officers” takes out a gun and tells him to do as he’s told.

At a lay-by he is transferred to a white Transit van and tied up and tape stuck over his eyes.

About 7:45 p.m.:

The van arrives at Elderden Farm, Staplehurst, according to the prosecution.

Dixon is left, bound, in the back.

8:40 p.m.:

Dixon’s wife, Lynn, answers the front door of the family home in Herne Hill to two “policemen”. One tells her that her husband has been in a traffic accident and has been taken to hospital.

She fetches her then 7-year-old son. However after getting in the car she becomes suspicious and asks to see the officer’s ID. Sensing something is wrong, she screams. One of the men puts a hand over her mouth and she is told the men are armed and will use their weapons if she doesn’t co-operate.

After 20 minutes, she and her son are taken out of the car and put in a red van with “Parcel Force” written on the side. They are bundled in the back and driven off.

Around 9:45 p.m.:

Lynn Dixon and her son also arrive at the farm.

Sometime later Colin Dixon is asked questions about the depot. Later he was taken to the side of a workshop and shown a map of the depot. He could also see a shotgun, a machine gun and a handgun.

At one moment a weapon was put to his head.

February 22:

About 1 a.m.:

Colin Dixon was blindfolded and taken to a Volvo car. Dixon’s wife and child were taken to a Renault lorry. Both vehicles were then driven to the depot.

During the journey, the masking tape was removed from Dixon’s eyes and he was given back his spectacles so staff would not be alerted.

1:28 a.m.:

The convoy arrives at the depot.

Dixon, accompanied by a “policeman”, goes up to control room where the employee on duty, Gary Barclay, lets them in.

Policeman pulls out a gun and Barclay is told to cooperate. Dixon opens the main gate to allow the lorry and other cars inside.

Seven robbers enter, carrying a machine pistol, a pump action shotgun, a handgun, and a weapon similar to an AK47 assault rifle.

The employees are rounded up and tied up. The lorry is then loaded with 53 million pounds in cash from the vault.

2:34 a.m.:

Lorry with two robbers leaves the depot loaded with cash. The other robbers untie employees, and lock them and the Dixons in the cages.

2:43 a.m.:

The other robbers leave. The Securitas staff do nothing for a while fearing the robbers would return before Dixon’s son escapes through the bars of the cage and releases the others.

3:14 a.m.:

Dixon sets off the alarm in his office to alert police.

Reporting by Michael Holden; Editing by Steve Addison

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