Michael Seed, also known as Basil the Ghost, pictured, was jailed for ten years for his part in masterminding the 2015 Hatton Garden raid
The ringleader of the Hatton Garden burglary plot, known as ‘Basil the Ghost’ has been ordered to repay almost £6 million or serve seven extra years in jail.
Michael Seed, 60, was jailed for ten years in March 2019 having been convicted of his role in the plot.
He was found guilty in the Old Bailey of conspiracy to burgle and conspiracy to conceal the proceeds of the crime.
Now, the gang’s mastermind, has been ordered to repay almost £6 million which prosecutors claim was his share of the £13.9 million heist.
He and his gang were found to have burgled safe deposit boxes in an underground vault in Hatton Garden in 2015.
The gang burrowed into the vault over the Easter Bank Holiday Weekend before breaking into the boxes and escaping with their massive haul.
Seed was told earlier today that he must repay almost £6 million or face an extra seven years in prison following a one-day Proceeds of Crime Act hearing held at Woolwich Crown Court in July.
Detective Chief Inspector Mark Bedford of the Metropolitan Police’s Flying Squad welcomed today’s ruling.
He said: ‘The conviction and sentencing of Seed – more widely known as Basil – brought to a close one of the longest investigations in the Flying Squad’s history. He was responsible for accessing the Hatton Garden premises and disabling its security systems. He was the only outstanding suspect in the case until March last year when he was convicted.
‘To date we have recovered just over a third of the property stolen from Hatton Garden, and much of it has already been returned to the victims. We have always said that the end of the trials for those involved did not mark the end of this investigation. Over many years specialist financial investigators have been working hard to locate outstanding property and identify the assets of these defendants.
Seed, pictured here, is believed to have bypassed the vault’s alarm system enabling his team to raid the vault
Some 73 boxes were looted during the raid which is believed to have netted the gang almost £14 million
‘Proceeds of Crime orders have already been served against the other gang members, and through tenacity and hard work with colleagues at the Crown Prosecution Service we have now achieved a further Order against Seed. Crime must not pay, and this should demonstrate the lengths we will go to ensure criminals are prevented from enjoying any financial benefit from criminality.’
Seed, an alarm specialist, is believed to have let himself in to the building in London’s diamond district using a set of keys before defeating the security system.
He was one of two men who climbed into the vault to loot 73 safe deposit boxes after the gang of ageing criminals drilled through the thick concrete wall over the 2015 Easter bank holiday weekend.
Seed – who pays no taxes, claims no benefits and rarely uses a bank account – evaded capture for three years before police raided his flat, in Islington, north London – around two miles away from Hatton Garden.
The electronics expert confidently told a jury at Woolwich Crown Court he was not the man nicknamed ‘Basil’ by the rest of the gang.
Police found £143,000 worth of gold ingots, gems and jewellery was found in his bedroom.
Seed’s fellow Hatton Garden ringleaders Brian Reader, 80, John ‘Kenny’ Collins, 78, Daniel Jones, 64, and Terry Perkins, who died in prison aged 69, were all jailed in 2016.
Seed travelled abroad three times after he was first photographed meeting Collins by a surveillance team in the weeks after the Hatton Garden burglary, while unknown to police.
Prosecutor Philip Evans QC suggested Seed, who studied electronics and physics at Nottingham University, may have taken stolen cash to Portugal, where Perkins had a holiday flat on the Algarve.
Among those convicted for their part of the raid were John Collins, left, and Daniel Jones, right
Terry Perkins, left, and Brian Reader, right, were also convicted for their part in the raid
The gang burrowed through a solid concrete wall into the vault, pictured
Seed was identified by the Flying Squad at the end of November 2015 and further surveillance footage captured him walking around Canary Wharf in April 2016.
He is believed to have been melting down gold and breaking up jewellery on his bedroom workbench bit by bit as it was brought in from a bigger stash.
Prosecutors said electronic equipment, including an alarm panel and a mobile jammer, found in his flat was used for training, and suggested he may have worn BT clothing to gain access to the buildings prior to the crimes.
Philip Evans QC said: ‘These two offences in particular required very specialist skills and knowledge to defeat the alarms and security measures in the premises.
‘The prosecution suggest that Mr Seed is one of those people and had the requisite level of skill and knowledge to assist in the successful execution of these crimes.’
Seed claimed he could have been on a family holiday in Cornwall or visiting his elderly mother, in Cambridge, at the time of the Hatton Garden burglary and told jurors he had never been known as Basil.
‘Everybody calls me Basil now,’ he said. ‘I’ll be known as Basil for the rest of my life.’