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18 July 2014, 17:39
A bungling robber whose attempted multi-million pound raid on a Swanley cash depot failed when he knocked down the wrong wall with a digger has been found guilty at court.
Raymond Betson, 52, of Clifton Crescent, Folkestone, and other unknown offenders targeted the Loomis cash depot in Mark Way, Swanley, in the early hours of Friday 23 March 2012.
Just before 5am a heavy-duty digger, which had been stolen, was driven into the outside wall of the depot in a bid to knock it over and allow the offenders to gain internal access.
The digger rammed the wall a number of times before one of the robbers, who were armed with baseball bats and white sacks, climbed over the rubble only to find an empty room. The group then entered a nearby empty warehouse only to find it was empty too.
Less than a minute later, the offenders ran off empty handed.
Officers attended the scene and later discovered an abandoned Mitsubishi 4x4 in a field near to Petham Court Farm. The vehicle had become grounded on a dip but inside, officers found a two-way radio, a baseball bat and large white bags.
In a nearby bush, a balaclava, a snood and a running stopwatch were also found allowing officers to calculate the time on the stopwatch and link it to the attempted robbery.
DNA gathered from the snood and the balaclava provided a near perfect match to Betson - there was less than one in a billion chance it could match anyone else.
On 5 December, officers from the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate carried out a search warrant at Betson's address and he was arrested.
Investigations to trace and identify the outstanding offenders continue.
On Friday 18 July, Betson was found guilty of attemptedt robbery at Maidstone Crown Court.
Investigating officer Detective Constable Helen King said: "Betson wanted to make a lot of money quickly and was significantly involved in this botched robbery.
"The attempt displayed a level of violence and organisation with the use of a digger, weapons such as baseball bats and a getaway vehicle.
"But what went from an armed robbery quickly turned into a farce because they knocked down the wrong wall, then searched an empty warehouse and managed to render the getaway vehicle useless as they fled the scene, discarding equipment nearby.
"I'm pleased the jury have recognised Betson's guilt. Our investigations to bring his fellow offenders to justice continue.
Betson will be sentenced on 8 August.