UK heist van docks in Durbs

Mhlaba Memela

Mhlaba Memela

KwaZulu-Natal police stepped up investigations with the British police into the baffling discovery of a large amount of British currency found in a vehicle shipped from London.

Local officers say the vehicle was involved in a cash-in-transit heist in London. It was then loaded on to a container ship bound for Durban a few weeks ago. The black Jeep Cherokee was confiscated by police in Durban over the weekend.

Police superintendent Henry Budhram said British authorities approached the organised crime unit in Pietermaritzburg two weeks ago to help with the investigation.

"Detectives at the organised crime unit in Pietermaritzburg began their investigation, which led to information being received that a vehicle was used in one of the heists and was shipped out of London to an African country," he said.

Budhrum said investigators traced the ship, which had docked in Durban at the weekend.

"The crimes were committed by foreigners in the London area."

He said the container was opened and the suspect vehicle recovered.

"Inside the vehicle a handgun was found and a large sum of British currency was discovered hidden inside the seats."

Budhrum said police also found dye on the bank notes of the type used to discourage cash-in-transit heists. The dye stains the notes when the money containers are forced open.

Police are investigating where the vehicle was to be delivered.

"British police will have to find the person who shipped the car, while South African police have to find the receiver. The biggest harbour in Africa is in Durban and neighbouring countries receive goods here," he said.

Budhrum declined to give more details and said the vehicle may not be photographed.

"Further investigations will probably include the vehicle being dismantled."