Successful cooperation between Swissport and London Police could avoid a £ 40 Mio robbery at Heathrow Airport
London, May 17th, 2004 A serious incident at Swissport's Cargo Warehouse could be turned away through a combined effort between a flying Squad of the Metropolitan Police and Swissport UK. Fortunately no staff was injured. Swissport's Cargo operation at Heathrow is back to normal working level this evening again.
The Met's flying squad has foiled a multi-million pound robbery at Heathrow Airport this morning. Seven out of eight suspects have been arrested. Six men were arrested by flying squad officers, assisted by armed colleagues from SO19, after an attempt to steal cash and precious metal from a warehouse in Bedfont Road, Heathrow. Police have now confirmed the goods and cash involved: £40 million UKP value of Gold Bullion and
a substantial amount of currency (details to be confirmed).
The attack began when a white Transit rammed through the shutters of Swissport Cargo warehouse on the outer-perimeters of Heathrow. A gang of men got out of the van and threatened staff with at least one firearm and other weapons including knives and cudgels. They attempted to steal the large quantity of precious metal that had been delivered to the warehouse and force their way into a secure area containing a large quantity of bank notes.
Armed officers, who were lying in wait, used hatton rounds to safely disable the van and challenged the suspects.
Six men were arrested at the scene. A further two suspects hijacked a white van and forced the driver who was inside to drive them out of the entrance in the direction of Stanwell. The driver of the van, which was recovered shortly afterwards, was not injured. One of the two who fled the scene has since been arrested, leaving one suspect still wanted.
Det Supt Barry Phillips, from the flying squad, said: "In preventing this attack, we have foiled what would have been one of the biggest robberies ever committed in the UK. It is clear that a lot of planning and preparation went into the attack but the Met's flying squad was one step ahead of the team for some time." The operation, codenamed Cartwright, involved more than 100 officers. No shots were fired during the operation and none of the staff were injured.
With a workforce of some 22 000 personnel, Swissport International Ltd. (which is majority-owned by London-based Candover Partners Ltd., a leading European buyout specialist) provides ground services for over 70 million passengers and three million tonnes of cargo a year, handling more than two million aircrafts on behalf of some 650 client companies. Swissport is active at 169 airports in 34 countries on five continents, and generated consolidated revenues of CHF 1.2 billion (around USD 950 million) last year.