A 10-Million-Pound Heist Was Foiled By Inconsiderate Parking
In February 2000, in a busy area of South London, three trucks roared to life and shot across a road, boxing in an armored car containing 10 million pounds in cash. Armed men jumped out and secured the area, hopefully accompanied by a pulsing guitar soundtrack. Then they went to get their secret weapon: a fourth truck, loaded with Christmas trees. Beneath the protruding trees was a huge steel spike welded to the chassis. The thieves planned to use the spike-truck as a monstrous battering ram to break into the armored van. It was the best use of Christmas trees as weapons since Deck The Halls
But don't call Michael Mann just yet (or do, maybe he's lonely). The thieves had left the spike-truck alone on the road while they secured the armored car, blocking the vehicle of a clueless local commuter who chose that exact moment to go to work. Enraged that some Christmas tree delivery guys were boxing him in -- in February -- he reached through the open window and took the keys out of their ignition.
Unable to start the spike-truck, the thieves set it on fire and escaped in a speedboat, because apparently England is exactly the way it's depicted in Bond movies. Still, police tracked them down and put the gang under surveillance, which revealed that they were planning an even more audacious heist: using a modified backhoe to smash their way into the De Beers diamond exhibition at London's Millennium Dome, stealing a cache which included the famed Millennium Star diamond, and covering their escape (again, via speedboat) with smoke bombs.
The plan had a chance to succeed. Regular security at the Dome consisted of some elderly guards and one teenager, who were surely an interesting team in their own right. But thanks to the surveillance, the Dome was full of 200 undercover police officers, and the gems had been replaced with decoy fakes, allowing the frankly over-dramatic thieves to be arrested with ease.
A Hollywood-Style Heist Failed Because Of A Tiny Mistake On A Bank Form
The Sumitomo Mitsui job was like a greatest hits compilation of British crime movies. No, really: The plan was developed by a gangster turned self-styled British aristocrat, as well as a cockney crime lord operating out of a London sex shop, and those are literally the villains from Layer Cake and Lock, Stock, And Two Smoking Barrels.
City of London PoliceThat included Lord Hugh Rodley, seen here taking time from his busy schedule of lowering tuxedo-clad spies into shark tanks.