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Hatton Garden mastermind claims dementia means he cannot go back to prison

Telegraph Reporters
Brian Reader, 80, was jailed for seven years in 2015 but released after serving less than half of his sentence

The mastermind behind the Hatton Garden heist could avoid being sent back to prison after being diagnosed with dementia, a court has heard.

Brian Reader, 80, was freed from jail last year after serving half his sentence but faces another seven years behind bars if he does not pay back millions of pounds stolen in the £13.7 million raid.

He, along with fellow ringleaders John "Kenny" Collins, 78, Daniel Jones, 64, and Terry Perkins, who died in prison last year aged 69, were slapped with one of the biggest confiscation orders in Scotland Yard's history.

They owe a joint £5.75 million, which prosecutors say is available in hidden assets from unrecovered jewellery, gold, gems and cash, as well as individual additional amounts from realisable assets such as properties in the UK and abroad.

But Reader, who has not paid back a single penny, could avoid going back to jail because of his poor health, Hendon Magistrates' Court heard.

A man was pictured on CCTV during the heist in 2015 Credit: PA

Prosecutor Philip Stott said Reader's lawyers had served medical evidence suggesting he "was incapable of participating in these proceedings... effectively on the grounds of the onset of dementia".

He said prosecutors will instruct their own medical experts and District Judge Richard Blake adjourned Reader's confiscation hearing to October 3.

Collins has been ordered to pay back a total of £7.6 million, including the proceeds of his share of a house in Islington, north London, and property in Spain, or face another seven years in jail.

He appeared in court on Wednesday, wearing blue jeans and a light checked shirt, to fight the order.

His lawyer David Wood said Collins has handed over £732,000 and has recently received an offer of £742,500 for his London home.

His Spanish flat is now worth just 99,000 euros rather than the £350,000 estimated last year, he added.

Police have also auctioned off some of the recovered stolen jewellery, which could not be returned to its owners, raising £110,000, the court heard.

The judge released Collins on bail until August 1, when he will decide whether to send him back to prison for up to seven years.

Jones has already been sentenced to seven years' imprisonment after failing to pay back the cash, while prosecutors hope to recoup some money from Perkins's estate.

Alarm specialist Michael Seed, 58, who was known as "Basil", was jailed for 10 years in March after becoming the 10th person convicted in connection with the 2015 Easter bank holiday weekend heist and is likely to face a similar order.