Millennium Dome raid

On 7 November 2000, a criminal gang attempted to steal the flawless 203.04 carats (40.61 g) Millennium Star diamond valued at over £200 million, from an exhibition at the Millennium Dome in Greenwich, London.

The robbers had been under police surveillance before the heist. At first police were unsure of the exact location of the robbery, but after months of surveillance, they discovered that the intended target was the Millennium Dome. On the 7th of November the robbers, armed with smoke bombs, ammonia, a sledge hammer and a nail gun, crashed through into the Dome with a stolen JCB Excavator, smashing through to the vault. The robbers planned to escape by speedboat on the River Thames.

The police operation to catch the robbers was codenamed "Operation Magician". In command of the operation was Detective Superintendent Jon Shatford of the Metropolitan Police. The operation involved around 200 officers including forty from the Specialist Firearms Command, CO19. They were briefed at dawn, some officers were positioned behind a dummy wall and others were dressed as cleaners and Dome employees with their firearms concealed. A further sixty armed Flying Squad officers were stationed around the Thames, and 20 on the river itself to hamper any escape attempts. The jewels were replaced with worthless fakes the night before the raid, just in case the robbers succeeded. Five men were caught and sentenced on various robbery charges. Sentences ranged from 4 to 18 years.


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