Baku, April 9, AZERTAC
A jewel worth a staggering £500,000 may have been snatched in the Easter weekend raid on a Hatton Garden security box firm.
According to one jeweller, the rare half-cut aqua diamond is thought to have been stored in Garden Safe Deposit Ltd, which was raided over the weekend.
Thieves are thought to have broken in through a lift shaft and then used cutters to gain access to around 300 safety deposit boxes in the famed diamond district.
Hatton Garden manufacturer Norman Bean, 68, revealed today that he feared the £500,000 jewel could have been among the items taken. He said: "A friend had a half-cut aqua diamond in there. He's terrified it has gone.
"I have £35,000 of stuff in there including a pear-shaped diamond ring."
Wholesaler Mohammad Shah, who trades with local dealers, fears he had hundreds of thousands of pounds of precious stones snatched from the supposedly-secure safety deposit boxes.
The 53-year-old said: "How they got in there is a mystery. There's only one entrance and the rest is all underground.
"It's obviously a well-planned job. They picked the right time for it considering everyone was away over the holidays.
"I had hundreds of thousands in there. It's insured but some of it is very rare and I won't be able to replace it."
The company allows clients to access their goods five days a week, seemingly closed at weekends.
It is not the first time safe deposit boxes have been targeted in Hatton Garden.
In 2003 jewelry, cash and valuables worth a whopping £1.5 million were stolen when a criminal emptied a number of security boxes at the Hatton Garden Safe Deposit Co after posing as a customer.