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Securitas depot in Tonbridge (centre-left), behind the traffic light
Securitas depot in Tonbridge (centre-left), behind the traffic light

The 2006 Securitas depot robbery in Tonbridge, Kent, was the largest ever cash heist in the UK. Seven criminals stole almost £53 million in used and unused Bank of England sterling banknotes. After months of preparation, the gang abducted the manager and his family, then tricked their way inside the building (pictured) and tied up fourteen workers at gunpoint. Kent Police recovered over £19 million; by 2007, 36 people had been arrested in relation to the crime. At trial in London, five people were convicted and received long sentences, including the inside man, Emir Hysenaj. Lee Murray, the alleged mastermind of the heist, had fled to Morocco with his friend and accomplice Paul Allen. Murray successfully fought extradition to the UK and was eventually imprisoned for the robbery there instead. Allen was extradited and after a second trial in 2008 was jailed. A decade later, £32 million had not been recovered, and several suspects were still on the run. (Full article...)

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Bernard Pitt
Bernard Pitt

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Jiang Zemin in 2002
Jiang Zemin

On this day

December 5: Krampusnacht in parts of Central Europe

Henry Knox's noble train of artillery
Henry Knox's noble train of artillery
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From today's featured list

Padma Bhushan medal
Padma Bhushan medal

In the 1990s, 113 people were awarded the Padma Bhushan, the third-highest civilian award of the Republic of India. Instituted on 2 January 1954, the Padma Bhushan is given for "distinguished service of a high order", without distinction of race, occupation, position, or sex. The recipients receive a sanad, a certificate signed by the president of India and a circular medallion (pictured) with no monetary association. Twenty-four awards were presented in both 1990 and 1991, followed by thirty-three in 1992. Eighteen recipients received the award in 1998 followed by fourteen in 1999. In the 1990s, the Padma Bhushan was also conferred upon five foreign recipients – two from the United Kingdom and one each from Japan, New Zealand, and the United States. Individuals from ten fields were honoured, which included twenty-six artists, twenty-three from literature and education, and eighteen from science and engineering. (Full list...)

Today's featured picture

William Utermohlen

William Utermohlen (December 5, 1933 – March 21, 2007) was an American figurative artist who became known posthumously for his self-portraits created after his diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease. He had developed progressive memory loss beginning about four years before his diagnosis in 1995. During that time, he began a series of self-portraits influenced in part by the figurative painter Francis Bacon and cinematographers from the movement of German Expressionism. Utermohlen created this self-portrait with mixed media on paper in 1967.

Illustration credit: William Utermohlen

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