Brazilian police have busted a bank robbing gang who had spent four months digging a tunnel into the main vault of the national bank containing £240million.
Police found the 550yard-long tunnel in southern Sao Paulo, leading from the robbers’ lair to a branch of the Bank of Brazil.
Had the robbery been successful, it could have been the ‘biggest bank robbery in history,’ local news reports
The tunnel led from a rented house where the gang had been holed up, and straight into the vault.
Images show it propped up with wooden planks and iron bars, with tools left behind and lights to lead the way inside the tunnel.
Police said the tunnel is big enough for an adult to stand up inside it, Brazilian media said, Globo.com reports.
Sao Paulo investigators had spent two months monitoring the group, and it was the completion of the tunnel that sparked the arrests.
‘The gang’s investment was in the range of 4 million real (£958,808),’ lead investigator of the case Fábio Pinheiro Lopes said according to RT.
‘Each of the participants put in 200,000 real (£47,940) and their estimate was to take 1 billion real (£240million).
‘It would be the biggest assault in the world.’
Some 16 members of the gang have so far been arrested, and Sao Paulo police say all leaders are in custody.