Lashmar on Hatton Garden and its sinister side

Lashmar on Hatton Garden and its sinister side – in the Independent – a blast from the past

Paul Lashmar
The Independent, Tuesday 11 August 1998

Jewellery and junk

For centuries Hatton Garden has been London’s quarter for jewellers and goldsmiths, not to mention fencers and fraudsters. But now the drug money launderers have moved in. And things are turning ugly

Hatton Garden is famous as London’s gold and jewellery quarter. Here, Oasis’s Liam Gallagher came with Patsy Kensit to buy a wedding ring. In January, the Foreign Secretary Robin Cook bought his girlfriend Gaynor Regan an ornate, 18-carat ring with diamonds, for £600.

For generations the betrothed have come here to get their bands of gold, and the canny rich to buy their gems, at prices that would make a Mayfair jeweller’s eyes water.

But Hatton Garden has another, secret and more sinister side. In this cash-preferred environment, crime and trade have existed hand in hand beyond living memory. Only last week the area was in the news when the police launched a hunt for a gang of thieves who posed as joggers and stole pounds 200,000 worth of diamonds from a Garden jewel merchant.

Organised drugs gangs are using Hatton Garden for a new trade. According to those who work there and are in the know, the Garden has recently become a centre for laundering drug money.

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