Hatton Gardens mastermind Brian Reader was born in London Docklands. He celebrates his 84th birthday today.
Brian Reader has been one of the country’s most prolific jewel thieves, involved in raids and heists totalling more than £200 million – including pulling off the Hatton Garden safe deposit burglary in 2015.
At the age of 32, Reader was also among the gang of master thieves who were dubbed the Millionaire Moles. He and his gang managed to tunnel about 40 feet into a Central London bank vault in 1971, escaping with £3 million before he and his family were forced to go on the run when one of the thieves turned police informant on the group. .
His is also believed to have been involved in a string of burglaries in the 1960s, including a hit on a Post Office in Albemarle Street in 1969 that took out £500,000 – worth about £7.5 million today.
Reader married his sweetheart Lyn Kidd in 1963, a close friend revealing “Brian would go home every night to Lyn and, unlike most successful criminals, he never had mistresses. He wasn’t one for nightclubs and the fast life. Brian’s a quiet family man and he did everything for Lyn.”
Lyn ultimately demanded an end to the family’s life on the run, with the family living under the assumed name of McCarthy in Grove Park, South East London.
But even while living under police radar and being one of Scotland Yard’s most-wanted fugitives, Reader managed to steal gold in a huge heist at the International Trading Estate until he was ultimately caught in 1985 and sentenced to nine years jail.
Reader, was just 11 when he was first charged with burglary. The young man was given a 12-month conditional discharge at the East London Juvenile court for four offences of “stealing tinned fruit by means of store-breaking”.
He was later sentenced at the Old Bailey at the age of 18, given two years probation for grievous bodily harm with intent and burglary.
His career ended with one last job when he and a gang ransacked 73 boxes from the Hatton Garden Safe, abseiling down a lift shaft and disabling the hi-tech alarm system before they used a diamond-tipped drill to get into the vault.
Reader was sentenced to six years jail for the crime. He was released from prison in June 2018 after serving just over three years.