Home » Law & Government » Public Safety » Crime & Justice » Between 1988 and 1992, at the Bank of England’s Incinerator Plant, Four Employees Stole More Than £600,000 of Used Bank Notes Due for Incineration.

Between 1988 and 1992, at the Bank of England’s Incinerator Plant, Four Employees Stole More Than £600,000 of Used Bank Notes Due for Incineration.

Hot Money is a British television crime drama film directed by Terry Winsor and written by Neil McKay. It premiered on ITV on December 12, 2001. The film, based on the Loughton incinerator thefts, stars Caroline Quentin as Bridget Watmore, a cleaner at the Bank of England who devises a scheme for impoverished workers to pinch cash before it is incinerated. But did you know what happened during incinerator theft?

The incinerator thieves of Loughton. Four employees stole more than £600,000 in used bank notes due for incineration at the Bank of England’s incinerator plant between 1988 and 1992. They were eventually discovered when the husband of one of them attempted to deposit £100,000 in used £20s and £50s.

The Loughton Incinerator Thefts

In a series of thefts between 1988 and 1992, four employees of the Bank of England’s incinerator plant at Debden in Loughton, Essex, conspired to steal around £600,000 in banknotes to be destroyed. They changed padlocks on locked doors to steal from piles of notes that had been removed from circulation.

Christine Gibson, one of the participants, smuggled the notes out of the plant by stuffing them into her underwear. Gibson initially worked with only two other employees, Kenneth Longman and Michael Nairne, before being approached and joined by a fourth person, Kevin Wainwright, who acted as their lookout and distracted the guards. During this time, the group and their spouses led a Riley lifestyle, lavishing their fortune on expensive cars, motorcycles, and jewelry. (Source: Next Owl Apps

The End Game for The Loughton Incinerator Thefts

The police were alerted to the criminal gang after Gibson’s husband, Peter, attempted to deposit £100,000 entirely in £20 and £50 notes at the Ilford branch of the Reliance Mutual Insurance Society. Nairne also tried to make a £30,000 deposit at the same branch. All four colleagues and their partners were quickly apprehended, but only Wainwright was charged; he admitted to stealing £170,000 from the plant and received an 18-month prison sentence.

In April 1994, the Bank of England sued the six remaining participants in the High Court of Justice. Judge Norman Rudd presided over the civil case, Bank of England versus Gibson, in which Winwright testified on behalf of the bank. Rudd issued his decision on April 26, 1994, after a two-week trial, ordering the three families to repay the bank more than half a million pounds. Because no witnesses who had testified in the High Court were willing to speak to the police, all three couples avoided criminal charges. In 2018, the Bank of England finally closed the case.

A similar crime was committed in 2000 when two bank clerks stole 110 sacks of notes worth £23,000 that were scheduled to be incinerated; the two participants were sentenced to six and nine months in prison, respectively. (Source: Next Owl Apps

The Film Adaptation of the Incinerator Thefts

The story of the thefts was adapted into two films, the first in 2001 as Hot Money, an ITV television movie starring Caroline Quentin, and the second in 2008 as Mad Money, a film based on the ITV production starring Diane Keaton. (Source: Next Owl Apps

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