One of the Hatton Garden raiders has broken his silence to blame the mastermind behind the heist for the gang getting caught.
John Collins, one of the pensioners convicted for the burglary that took place over Easter weekend in 2015, says they failed to penetrate the vault the first night they tried after a detail in Brian Reader’s plan turned out to be wrong.
Collins, now 78, was interviewed for an ITV documentary airing tonight – the first time any of the gang have spoken publicly.
In the documentary he reveals the gang, which have been dubbed the Diamond Wheezers, were led to believe by Reader, 80, that the steel shelf holding the safety deposit boxes was free-standing, not bolted to the wall.
Collins went on to accuse the mastermind of abandoning the aged criminals when he wouldn’t go back to the jewellery quarter the next day to finish what they started.
He says in the documentary: “Brian said the thing would be freestanding. And when we get in, it’s bolted to the wall. They couldn’t move, couldn’t shift it so they come out that day.
“That’s when Brian decided not to go back. You don’t just pull out because it suits you. What about us? Maybe if he didn’t, none of us would have got nicked.”
Collins is the first raider to give an interview since the 2015 Easter bank holiday robbery, in which £14million of gold, jewels and cash was swiped – much of it still unaccounted for.
He continues in the documentary: “They spent maybe three years on it. Common sense said we got to go back and give it another half-hour.
“We got to try and force these bolts. But he pulled out of it.”
Collins was released in late 2018 having served half his sentence. He served as the lookout and getaway driver for the gang.