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Police hunt for stolen Brink's gold

LONDON, Britain -- Detectives hunting for gold from the country's biggest bullion robbery have focused their search on an allotment and builders' yard on the south coast.

More than three tonnes of gold worth around 25 million pounds ($36 million) at today's prices were stolen from the Brink's-Mat security depot at Heathrow airport in 1983.

A local police spokesman said on Friday: "We are looking for proceeds from the Brink's-Mat robbery. We have found no gold so far."

Scotland Yard did confirm the search had begun on Thursday and said "There were no developments overnight." The hunt in Old London Road in Ore, Hastings, was expected to take some time.

None of the stolen ingots have ever been found though police did recover 11 melted-down bars in 1985. In the 1990s, private investigators were called in by insurance underwriters Lloyd's of London to carry out a worldwide search to recover the stolen bullion.

Several people were linked to the robbery, starting with London solicitor Michael Relton in 1985. He was jailed for 12 years and ordered to repay 12 million pounds.

Kenneth Noye, currently serving a life sentence for murder, was given 14 years for handling bullion from the raid. He served eight years and repaid three million pounds in cash to the insurers. Noye is known to have links with the area of Hastings.

Only two of the robbers have been convicted -- Michael McAvoy and Brian Robinson who each got 25-year sentences.

Brink's-Mat is the world's largest security firm and transporter of valuables and earlier this week the company posted a reward to help find a stolen diamond worth around $6 million which vanished on its way from Geneva to South Africa.

Copyright 2001 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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