Robberies involving security cash vehicles
1978, about: A3 Wisley: Malcolm Sutton: A robbery involving Securicor cash in transit van occurred when the villains shot out the tyres of the private cars in front and behind and then using a chain saw took off the side and stole the money. PC Sutton was solo on the area car and was first on the scene just after the villains had driven off on the opposing carriageway in a Jag before turning towards Effingham.
Ian Wright: I went, I believe, with Duncan Ellis PC 925 or PS Chris Dick, in the old Area car call sign Alpha 20. I am sure that it was our last Thursday of a week of early turns. (Things always seemed to occur on that day!) We were both still in uniform then and I am sure that it was around 1978.
Anyway we were first or second vehicle on the scene and the robbery had occurred just a short distance from the old A3 junction with the Redhill Road. In those days you could still do the length of the Redhill Road and turn left onto the A3. The road system as it is now was still being planned.
In any event when we got there all the London bound traffic was at a standstill as the leading motorists had all had their car keys stolen and thrown away to prevent anyone chasing the robbers and any police vehicle from getting to the scene. I am sure that Detective Inspector Tim Blake was Officer in Case in the early stages and there was a row over whose ground it was! Anyhow we were told, in no uncertain terms, to sling our hook and do something useful like find the getaway car(s).
I remember travelling up to Pains Hill roundabout and then back down the southbound dual-carriageway section and the traffic, from Guildford direction stretched back for miles. We never found the getaway car(s).
1980s, early: Simon Nelson: In the early 1980s there was a series of armed robberies on Securicor cash delivery vans in the home counties and these may be linked to the series mentioned in 1978.
The modus operandi (MO) was to stop the van, threaten the driver with guns and then like a knife through butter use a chain saw to cut a large hole in the side of the van. They would have their escape car nearby and after taking the money would get away.
When I was a PC at Guildford on "C" Section we had just come out of 2 pm briefing (I am sure the villains knew the Police would be in the nick for change over) when there was a report of a Securicor van robbery near Effingham Junction railway station. The exact location where the van had been forced to stop was on the narrow railway bridge on Forest Road between the junctions of The Drift and Forest Lane.
There are sharp bends on both sides of the bridge on the approach and on one side of the road thick woods and on the other side the far end of the railway station car park where the getaway car had been parked. I think five of us from late turn and some from early turn who were still loitering in the PCs office were told to get in police carrier and deploy to the scene as the robbers had escaped.
We all raced out and climbed into the van driven by PC 61 Malcolm Biles who had just come back from his Transit Van course and we drove with blue light (no siren fitted, only to Area cars at that time) up the A246 to Effingham and down Effingham Common Road to Effingham Junction.
This was not our ground and none of us had knowledge of the area. It may have been part of Shere rural section or just inside Leatherhead's area. When we turned up at scene there was the Securicor Van and crew with red faces, and large hole in the offside. The van was completely blocked in by various cars, five or six on both sides, drivers of which had come across the robbery in progress.
They had all been threatened with guns and forced to hand over their ignition keys which were all thrown into the woods. All the drivers were still there and in a state of shock. We subsequently secured the scene and took statements. I later heard that PC Graham "Hoss" Robinson the local village bobby had been patrolling in the railway station car park on his pedal cycle and had appeared minutes before the expected arrival of the Securicor van from the direction of East Horsley.
The robbers were observing him and in desperation got out of the car and threatened him with guns telling him to lie face down on the ground of the car park. I believe he was told they would shoot him if he moved and they took his radio off him. After the robbery PC Robinson managed to get to a phone at the Railway Station and called 999. I believe the same gang of robbers were all arrested at the scene of another van robbery in the Reigate area some weeks or months later.
Sergeant Rod Hill at the scene
1979, 11 October: Armed robbery at 1045 on the A3 six miles north of Guildford when £377,000 in cash was stolen ... more from a Group 4 cash in transit van. A Transit pulled across the front of the Group 4 vehicle forcing it to stop. A second transit blocked the vehicle in and a third vehicle rammed the rear.
Two men with balaclava hoods emerged from the rear of one of the Transit vans, one man armed with a pistol who immediately covered the driver and his mate. The second man started to cut into the side of the vehicle with a disc cutter whilst a third man climbed onto the roof and cut two aerials rendering the radios useless.
A fourth man, armed with a bolt action rifle, went to drivers of cars forced to stop by the incident and took their keys and threw them into a ditch. The car tyres were slashed with a knife. The men loaded sixteen money bags from the van and drove off abandoning a stolen vehicle nearby. No immediate arrests were made.25
1980, 13 May: Armed Robbery: A security van was boxed in and forced to stop in Tandridge. The vehicle was then attacked by probably five men one of whom immediately snapped off the radio aerial whilst others slashed the tyres. An attempt was made to open the rear doors with a disc cutter whilst a man with a handgun held up motorists, taking their car keys and throwing them into the hedgerow.
The crew had withdrawn into the armoured section and the driver noticed that the car that had been blocking his escape had been removed so he got back into his seat and drove off. At least six shots were fired at the vehicle as it left the scene but no one was injured. An extensive search recovered three stolen vehicles used in the robbery on false plates but no one was arrested.50
25 Annual Report 1979.
50 Annual Report 1980.