The last suspect in the £14m Hatton Garden safe deposit box heist has gone on trial nearly four years after the raid.
Michael Seed, 58, was the gang member known to the others as “Basil”, the jury at Woolwich Crown Court was told.
Prosecutor Philip Evans said nine people had already been convicted over the plot in which a gang stole “a very substantial quantity of gold, jewellery, precious stones, cash and other items” in what was thought to be the biggest burglary in English legal history.
He said: “Of the six men who physically entered the premises, one of them was not arrested with the others and he remained at large.
“This man was referred to by the co-conspirators as ‘Basil’. The prosecution case is that ‘Basil’ was a nickname and the defendant, Michael Seed, is that man.”
Seed, from Islington, north London, denies conspiracy to burgle the basement vault and launder the proceeds.
He also denies conspiracy to burgle Chatila, a Bond Street jewellers, a raid in which $1.3m (£997,000) worth of jewellery, precious stones and watches were allegedly stolen in 2010.
Seed, grey-haired, balding and wearing glasses, was dressed in a blue tracksuit and sat in the dock reading notes as the prosecutor began to outline the charges against him.
Mr Evans described security measures at the vault in Hatton Garden, London’s jewellery quarter at the time of the raid over the Easter Bank Holiday weekend in 2015.
Behind the locked, wooden main door to the premises above the vault was a magnetic glass door opened with a four-digit pin code.
“It was possible for someone to open doors such as these either by covering the magnetic contacts or by violently pushing and pulling them,” said Mr Evans.
Another locked door led to stairs down to the basement, where another locked door gave access to two sliding iron gates, an intruder alarm system and the Chubb vault door with combination locks.
Jurors were told that four men had admitted their part in the Hatton Garden conspiracy. They were John “Kenny” Collins, Daniel Jones, Terry Perkins, and Brian Reader. Two others, Carl Wood and William Lincoln, were convicted.
Mr Evans said: “The chronology of the known conspirators’ movements in the months leading up to the burglary will not be disputed and was established by piecing together the available evidence of, for example, their phone contact, the movement of those phones (if they had a known phone) and the movements of their vehicles captured on CCTV or ANPR [automatic number plate recognition devices] around the capital.
“The police do not know whether the defendant had access to a mobile phone at that time or if he did the number during the relevant period.”
The prosecutor is expected to finish his opening statement on Tuesday before calling witnesses.
The trial continues.
(c) Sky News 2019: Hatton Garden: Last suspect ‘known as Basil’ goes on trial over £14m heist