1962 Bank Raid at Fair Green

Daily Express 6th September, 1962

High-street Incident

A fight starts and one by one a whole street joins in …

“IT WAS wonderful the way the public piled in to help,” said a detective at Mitcham, Surrey, last night.

And there are indeed a lot of ordinary people who can be very proud of the way in which they piled in to aid two security guards carrying payroll to their armoured van yesterday.

It was just after 10 am. The two guards were carrying a tin box containing several thousand pounds from Lloyds Bank in Upper Green East.

Suddenly there was a struggle with a group of men.

Guard Derek Clarke, 32, of Halley-road, Manor Park, fell back, his arm injured; his colleague Norman Negus, 54, who had the box chained to his waist, was seen, his head injured, being lifted into a van.

Mitcham then blew up.

Greengrocer Tom Norris hit a man on the head with his window-blind pole. Passers-by hurled fruit boxes at the van.

Police Constables George Nazer and Stanley Black joined in the struggle. Private Investigator Mark Scott jumped from his car and hurled a crate at the van. Lorry driver John Taylor, 34, from Cambridgeshire, stopped his lorry.

“I saw there was trouble and leaped out,” he said. “I managed to hit two men before they got to the van.”

The third member of the armoured van team, 50-year-old Mr. Edward Yaxley, of Lancaster Court, Fulham, waiting locked In the armoured van, radioed his headquarters and Scotland Yard.

There was a puff of white vapour and dye as guard Clarke fired a dye-gun. Then the smaller van began to move off.

At the corner of St. Mark’s-road and Lansdell-road, near by, Mr. Douglas Gardner, at the wheel of his London Electricity Board van, pulled in and halted a van with a number of men inside. Police arrived and another struggle developed.

Kenneth Hall, 21, of Norbury-crescent, Norbury, saw a Ford Zephyr drive away. “I drove my cab straight into it but my car was forced on to the pavement,” he said.

Last night three men were charged with the robbery of a tin box containing £10,981 in cash. They will appear at Wallington court today.

Daily Express, 6th November 1962

PRIVATE CAR POSSE BEAT A BANK GANG

A PRIVATE posse who chased a gang of armed bank bandits were praised by a judge at the Old Bailey yesterday.

Three members of the gang were jailed for a total of 34 years, and Judge Rogers said:

“It is often said after these cases that the public have stood by and watched and done nothing about it.

It is certainly not so in this case. I hope you will pass on to these people our appreciation of the public-spirited assistance they gave which required considerable courage.”

Only a few of the people who took part in the chase were mentioned in court.

Jailed

Judge Rogers added: “It may be that there were other members of the public not mentioned: and I hope you will make it quite clear that I would like to thank all who took part.”

He jailed Harry Gowen, 40, dealer of West Green Way, Wandsworth, for fourteen years; Leslie Hornet, 40, builder, of Franciscan-road, Tooting, for twelve years; and Harvey James Mason, dealer, of no fixed abode, for eight years.

All pleaded guilty to taking part in the robbery of £10,671 from a security guard outside Lloyds Bank, Upper Green East, Mitcham, last September.

After the raid a civilian posse of cars and vans chased the gang as they drove away with one of the security men in the back of their stolen van.

Struggle

The van was trapped a few streets away and three of the gang were held after a struggle.

Four escaped in another car. All the money was recovered.

Last night it was announced that the owners of the security van had given £100 to the Mayor of Mitcham in recognition of the civilians’ actions.

The money is to be divided between two local charities.

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