A gang of security guards who staged an audacious robbery to steal £7m ($9.2m) in one of the biggest thefts in UK history have been jailed for more than 20 years.

The cash-in-transit raid was dubbed "The Heathrow Heist" after a van with 19 bags filled with cash was targeted after picking up the money from Credit Suisse at Heathrow Terminal 4.

Loomis security guards Mohammad Siddique, 32, and Ranjeev Singh, 40, were jailed for the inside job which took place on 14 March.

The pair, both from Slough, Berkshire, arranged for Singh to "go to the toilet" but Siddique drove off and then parked the van a short distance away in West View, Feltham.

The bags were then unloaded and the van was abandoned while Siddique was discovered miles away with his hands and ankles bound.

The raid was masterminded by gambling addict Rafaqat Hussein, 41, who had arranged for a getaway car to be scrapped and was in contact with the other two during the heist.

Siddique and Singh were jailed for six-and-a-half years for conspiracy to steal at Kingston Crown Court following a three-week trial.

Hussein was jailed for 10 years and three months after pleading guilty to conspiracy to steal, conspiracy to burgle and conspiracy to commit money laundering.

Rafaqat Hussain
Rafaqat Hussain, 41, was jailed for 10 years and three months for the sham robbery Metropolitan Police

On the day of the robbery, the money was picked up for the Credit Suisse bank and bound for the Bank of Ireland before Siddique and Singh made the unauthorised toilet stop.

The court heard how Singh took 20 minutes to raise the alarm with his employer and, when asked whether he had tried to contact Siddique, he said he did not have his phone.

Siddique was found with his hands and ankles bound with cable ties and left on a service road near the M40 in Buckinghamshire, to create the impression of a robbery.

Siddique claimed the theft had been organised by a man who had threatened to burn his house down but the Met's Flying Squad reviewed CCTV footage and mobile phone records and discovered Singh and Siddique where on the phone to each other when the cash was stolen.

Hussein was also in contact with the pair from the safety of a casino in the early hours of the morning.

Hussain's wife Razvana Zeib was arrested and charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering after investigations revealed £900,000 had been transferred to a Pakistani bank account opened in her name.

And Zeib and another defendant, Gary Carrod, were also charged with conspiracy to burgle after a house in Stoke Poges, which Hussain was planning to buy, was burgled and ransacked in an attempt to reduce the price.

Carrod was sentenced to three-and-a-half years' imprisonment and Zeib pleaded guilty to conspiracy to burgle and conspiracy to commit money laundering and will be sentenced at a later date.