Planning for the Hatton Garden heist began as far back as 2012, prosecutor Philip Evans told Woolwich Crown Court yesterday.
The raid, which the court heard was the “largest in English history”, took more than 36 years to plan and was hatched in a pub in Islington.
Details of the raid were disclosed by Mr Evans, who said analysis of the defendants’ computers had revealed that at least one of the people involved had searched the internet for drills. “By May 2014 those searches had escalated to more meaningful searches for the specific drill which was used over the Easter weekend 2015 to drill through the vault wall,” he said. “Also, by May 2014 on the computer there were YouTube clips found containing demonstrations of how to use it.”
The thieves bored a hole 20in (51cm) deep, 10in (25cm) high and 18in (46cm) wide through a wall at Hatton Garden Safe Deposit Company.
Evidence has revealed that the search for suitable equipment might have even started even four years ago.
Jurors were told that the heist took place throughout the weekend, with the raiders returning on April 4 with additional equipment, after only being moderately successful on April 2.
Evans said the burglary was arranged during Friday night meetings at The Castle pub on Pentonville Road in Islington, north London.
Evans also told the jury that Brian Reader, 76, who has already pleaded guilty, was known as “the master”. When his home was raided, police found “a book on the diamond underworld, a diamond tester, a diamond gauge, diamond magazines”.
John ‘Kenny’ Collins, 75, Daniel Jones, 58, Terry Perkins, 67, and Brian Reader, 76, have all already pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit burglary at Hatton Garden Safe Deposit and will be sentenced at a later date.
Carl Wood, 58, William Lincoln, 60 and Jon Harbinson 42 deny conspiracy to burgle, while Hugh Doyle, 48, denies conspiracy to conceal, convert or transfer criminal property.
The trial continues.