Hatton Garden heist
Hole bored in half-metre thick wall by Hatton Gardens thieves Metropolitan Police

Eight men have been charged with plotting the Hatton Garden safe deposit box burglary, Scotland Yard has said.

The Met's Flying Squad charged the men, aged 48 to 76, with conspiracy to burgle on Wednesday 20 May.

They were remanded in custody to appear before Westminster Magistrates' Court on 21 May. A ninth man has been released on bail pending further enquiries, police said.

The contents of 56 safe deposit boxes were taken during the raid in London's jewellery district over the Easter weekend. It is believed jewellery worth up to £200m ($311m) was taken during the raid.

Two of the men charged, Brian Reader, 76, and Paul Reader, 50, who is also known as Brian, are believed to be father and son and were arrested at an address in Dartford, Kent.

The Nine Men Charged

Terry Perkins, 67, of Heene Road, Enfield

John Collins, 74, of Bletsoe Walk, north London

Daniel Jones, 58, of Park Avenue, Enfield

Hugh Doyle, 48, of Riverside Gardens, Enfield

William Lincoln, 59, of Winkley Street, Enfield

Brian Reader, 76, of Dartford Road, Dartford

Paul Reader, 50, of Dartford Road, Dartford

Carl Wood, 58, of Elderbeck Close, Cheshunt

It comes after nine suspects were detained after police raids on 12 properties in the London and Kent areas.

Bags with a significant amount of high-value property had been recovered at one of the addresses and the police were confident some were among the items stolen during the burglary.

Professional heavy cutting equipment was used to break into a vault at Hatton Garden Safe Deposit Ltd, in Holborn, Central London.

An appeal has also been launched for information about a white Ford Transit van, registration DU53 VNG, captured on CCTV in Hatton Garden on 2 April.

Harry Levy, the head of the London Diamond Bourse, based in Hatton Garden, earlier said police had "come up trumps".

He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "I've been quite sceptical about recovery of any property. I was absolutely delighted when I heard yesterday that ... they had recovered quite a substantial amount of as they put it high value property.

"We have absolutely no idea what they have recovered, but I am sure this will come out quite shortly. At least there is light at the end of the tunnel now as far as people are concerned in recovering their property.

"But I think it's going to be quite a long process of - A: Sorting out the goods; and B: Finding out what belongs to what."