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Irish Bank Raid

Bank raid

Image: A bank raid

One Monday morning whilst I was working in the stores, a telephone call came in for the supervisors, Peter and Gordon were to drop everything, go to the airport and fly to Ireland that day.

There had been a bank robbery over the weekend, the bank had been seriously attacked and a large sum of money removed from the vault. However, the alarm system had not activated so the robbery was not discovered until the bank opened on Monday morning.

It was standard company practice that alarm failures were investigated by supervisors from another region, this helped protect the company and its clients from any hint of internal cover up etc.

When they arrived at the bank, it was one hell of a mess, a thermic lance had been used to cut a way in to the vault and explosives to open the hole, a considerable amount of cash was missing and the Garda were present in some considerable numbers. 

Upon opening the control panel, it was immediately apparent why the alarm had not activated, every circuit on the system had been disabled with wire links across the terminals inside the panel.

A review of the service history revealed that a service engineer had visited the premises the week before the raid to service the system, he had not turned in to work that Monday morning.

The Garda called at his house and arrested him, he gave up his colleagues and the robbery team were all arrested with 48 hours.

It struck me that, the vault could not have contained more than its rated cash storage limit and likely contained much less over a weekend as the peak at the time would be Thursday when firms collected cash for payrolls, the limit for this size vault was much the same as most regional banks at the time £40,000.00. 

Assuming 50% was left in the vault on Friday This sum shared five ways would be £4,000.00 each. To sacrifice your career and spend several years in prison for at the very most had the vault been at maximum capacity £8,000 was just out of the question in my opinion.

At about the same time, a considerably more successful robbery had taken place at a bank in the centre of Leeds, a bullion van was parked outside the entrance on Park Row, cash boxes were being moved from the bank into the security van when a person ran at the guard, knocked him off his feet and disappeared into the crown with one of the boxes. 

Later it was reported that there was £12,000 in the box, which was never recovered, perhaps because the description of the thief was given as a stockily built man aged 25 – 45 wearing blue jeans and a brown cagoule.

To put this in context, a year later I took out a mortgage for £11,400 to buy a house, at 15.75% over 25 years.