Hatton Garden suspect ‘built bird scaring devices’

Michael Seed Image copyright Julia Quenzler
Image caption Michael Seed’s defence lawyers say he is not the mystery Hatton Garden raider known as “Basil”

Electronic gadgets found in the flat of the final Hatton Garden heist suspect were built to scare away pigeons, a court has heard.

It is alleged Michael Seed, 58, from Islington, is mystery alarm expert “Basil”, one of the ringleaders in the £14m safe deposit raid in 2015.

Mr Seed told jurors infrared sensors and buzzers discovered by police were part of a system to frighten birds.

The court also heard he was jailed in the 1980s for supplying drugs.

Mr Seed was arrested on 27 March last year when police raided his Islington flat.

Officers said they found £143,000 worth of jewellery and gold stolen from the Hatton Garden safe deposit, along with electronic equipment said to have been useful in planning and carrying out the raid.

Image copyright Met Police
Image caption Various electronic equipment was found in Mr Seed’s flat when it was raided by police

Giving evidence at Woolwich Crown Court, the 58-year-old denied the electronic devices were for use in high-end crimes.

“I have got a lot of problems with pigeons and I used these things to scare them off,” he said.

He said he also built mobile phone jammers because “it’s just a fun thing if you’re into electronics”.

Dr Robert Brown, an expert in electrical engineering, told the court the gadgets found would be commonly owned by electronic hobbyists or amateur radio enthusiasts.

‘Good with my hands’

The court heard Mr Seed was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment for supplying class A and class B drugs in 1984.

He told jurors he took LSD every weekend while studying physics and electronics at university.

“I enjoy recreational drugs,” Mr Seed said.

“I used to take LSD every weekend and I sold a friend 10 pills of LSD and I think it was a small amount of marijuana.”

The court was also told that after moving to a one-bedroom council flat when he was released from prison, the 58-year-old began fixing TVs and computers before moving into the jewellery recycling business in the mid-1990s.

“It’s purely a thing for money. I have never had an interest in jewellery or even a liking for it. I got into the recycling jewellery thing because I’m good with my hands,” he said.

“I have always worked in the black economy,” he added.

“I don’t pay tax, I don’t claim benefits.”

Mr Seed said he rarely used his bank account, pays £105 per week in rent and enjoyed regular holidays to Portugal.

Mr Seed denies two charges of conspiracy to commit burglary and one charge of conspiracy to handle stolen property.

The trial continues.

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