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Leighton Buzzard
The Great Train Robbery

Places > Leighton Buzzard > Crime

The Great Train Robbery is one of the most infamous robberies in British history. It took place on the 8th August 1963 at 3.03am at Sears Crossing, two miles south of Leighton station. The 15 strong gang held up a Royal Mail sorting train making it's way from Glasgow to London. Their haul of used bank notes was worth 2.3 million (40 million in today's money).

False signals were set up to stop the train. Dressed in overalls, the gang boarded the train claiming to be 'railway workers'. They broke into the sorting coach and quickly hurled 120 sacks of money onto a lorry waiting under the bridge at Bridego Bridge. They then made their way to a hideout at Leatherslade farm in Oxfordshire. After laying low for a while, passing the time playing monopoly and drinking tea, the gang became aware that the police were closing in on them and they scattered.

All of them were rounded up by the police fairly quickly as the fingerprints left on the cups of tea and monopoly set were soon matched up to existing ones the police had on file (most of the gang were already well known to the police).

The trial of the 'Great Train Robbers' was held in Aylesbury and all received sentences of between 20 and 30 years.


  • World's biggest train hijack (Beds & Bucks Observer 13 August 1963)
  • The treasure trove in 100 sacks (Beds & Bucks Observer 9 August 1988)
  • Legend grows from train attack (Leighton Buzzard Herald & Post 7 August 1992)

The Great Train Robbery, by Bedfordshire Libraries, 2005

Page last updated: 3rd February 2014