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Kidnap Ronnie Biggs
A one-off documentary examining the remarkable story of Operation Anaconda — the 1981 mission to kidnap the Great Train Robber Ronnie Biggs from Rio and bring him back to British soil. With exclusive access to Patrick King and the rest of his kidnap team, who carried out the snatch, the documentry features exclusive footage of the former train robber being held captive by the kidnappers and a re-creation of the operation.
In August 1963, a Royal Mail train travelling from Glasgow to London was stopped and boarded by a group of masked men. The gang of bandits scooped a £2.6 million bounty, vanished after the incident and holed themselves up in a Buckinghamshire farmhouse.
However, most of them were soon tracked down and caught after police found fingerprints on items inside their hideout. Among them was Ronnie Biggs who, after being caught and sent to Wandsworth Prison, escaped only 15 months into his 30-year jail term.
This documentary picks up the story around 15 years later and tells the remarkable tale of Operation Anaconda. Biggs had settled in Brazil in 1970 – a country he could not be extradited from for legal reasons. Scotland Yard was furious with the situation and more than a little embarrassed but their hands were tied.
However, there were many people who had their own reasons for wanting to see the return of the felon and they were willing to do whatever was necessary.
In this programme, international security expert Patrick King reveals how he was approached in October 1980 by a man calling himself Ray Jarrett.
He wanted Biggs back behind bars and told King he had £38,000 to spend on ensuring that happened. A plan was hatched by the specialist, who enlisted the help of several other ex-military personnel, including Johnny Miller – a man who only 18 months earlier had tried and failed to kidnap the criminal.
"We were going to put him in a valise, which is a large canvas sack that you put marquees in,” Miller said. “Then we planned to put a sign on the side that said ‘anaconda snake – handle with care’.
“After that, we’d walk the bag through the departure lounge, put him into a private jet we’d chartered, fly to the north of Brazil, put the package on a yacht and sail to Barbados. It was as simple as that.”
Or was it? The operation was mapped out and the ready-and-waiting hired hands were in the West Indies where the luxury ship was anchored. The skipper of the boat was under the impression the men were part of a documentary team out to film oil rigs off the coast of Brazil. With a Super 8 camera, they also shot footage of their journey.
King and one of his team flew on ahead to Rio, leaving Miller in charge. However, it was far from plain sailing. King successfully befriended Biggs and tried to lure him to a place for the gang to snatch him, only to be foiled when a drunken Biggs failed to show.
The second snatch went as expected and with Biggs in the bag the team smuggled him onto the jet bound for Belem and their waiting vessel. But before they arrived in Barbados the press got hold of the story and the kidnap became a major international incident.
Airdate: 9 February 2006 (UK)
Name.........: Kidnap Ronnie Biggs.avi
Filesize.......: 442 MB (463,743,342 bytes)
Video Codec..: DivX 5.0
Audio Codec..: 0x0055(MP3) ID'd as MPEG-2 Layer 3
Audio Bitrate: 192 kb/s (24/ch, stereo) CBR
frame Size...: 352 X 264 (1.33:1) [=4:3]
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