BBC's Gold: The true story behind the Brink's-Mat heist and what happened to the gold?

The new BBC drama explores the thrilling story behind the 1983 gold robbery that stunned Britain and changed the global economy forever

BBC's Gold: The true story of Brink's-Mat and what happened to the gold?
(Image credit: BBC)

Gold's premiere on BBC One last night has everybody asking the same thing – what happened to the stolen goods? 

If you’ve been craving a new true-crime show to wind down your weekends, Gold might just scratch that itch. 

The BBC series starring Hugh Bonneville replaced Happy Valley’s slot on Sunday night (February 12) and has already caused quite the stir online, as viewers take to the Internet to share their mixed reactions. 

Based on the true story of the 1983 Brink-Mat robbery, the six-part drama revisits one of the most notorious heists to go down in British history. Written by Neil Forsyth, Gold also explores how the shocking incident impacted the global economy and changed the nation’s police and crime forever. 

It's riveting stuff, that's for sure.


(Image credit: BBC)

What was the Brink Mat robbery?

The Brink Mat robbery was a heist that occurred at Heathrow International Trading Estate on November 26, 1983, when six armed robbers broke into a warehouse run by a US and British joint venture, Brink’s Mat. The group had expected to find foreign currency at the security depot but instead happened upon £26 million worth of goods. More than 6,000 gold bars, as well as cash and diamonds, were taken in the robbery. 

Two members of the criminal gang were caught quickly after the robbery took place, but the remaining four – along with the stolen gold bullion – vanished. At the time, the Brink Mat robbery was the biggest theft in the world’s history. The disposal of the gold also had a major effect on the global economy, fueling large-scale international money laundering and providing the dirty funds that helped accelerate the London Docklands property boom. 

What happened to the stolen gold in the Brink's-Mat heist? 

Having never expected to find such huge amounts of gold at the security depot, the Brink's-Mat robbers were unsure of what to do with their stolen treasures. It's understood that they enlisted help from criminal friends, one of whom was Kenneth Noye, to melt the gold and thereby dilute its purity – making it harder for police to trace. Noye then reportedly sold it off to different jewelers, before depositing the large amounts of stolen cash in various banks around Bristol. He was arrested after one of these banks tipped off the police, and ultimately was sentenced to 14 years in prison for conspiracy to handle the Brink's-Mat gold. 

Emma Dooney
Lifestyle News Writer

Hailing from the lovely city of Dublin, Emma mainly covers the Royal Family and the entertainment world, as well as the occasional health and wellness feature. Always up for a good conversation, she has a passion for interviewing everyone from A-list celebrities to the local GP - or just about anyone who will chat to her, really.

Emma holds an MA in International Journalism from City, University of London, and a BA in English Literature from Trinity College Dublin.