Robber baron’s missing fortune

This Is Wiltshire: Robber Billy Gilling Robber Billy Gilling

Armed robber Billy Gilling, who made more than a million pounds from crime, has paid back less than a tenth of his ill-gotten gains, a court heard.

Gilling, 47, who is serving 18 years for robbery and burglary, profited from his life of crime to the tune of £1,150,000.

More than £1million will remain outstanding, unless the robber, who prosecutors claimed had squirreled away vast sums, comes into money in the future.

At a hearing in 2008 a judge told Gilling, whose real first name is Vivian, to repay £240,500 within six months or face two years more on his sentence.

But, after a suspected arson at his former home in Hoopers Pool, Southwick, the threat of more time inside was removed, as the amount that could be recovered was found to be only £102,000.

Prosecutors had asked for the “professional criminal” to repay the whole £1.15m, saying he must have hidden vast sums.

A bug fitted to his flat heard him boasting to a relative that he had put away money where it would never be found.

On Monday Judge Euan Ambrose, sitting at Swindon Crown Court, heard a receiver had been appointed to sort out Gilling’s financial affairs.

Senghin Kong, for Gilling, said after selling off all he could lay his hands on, the receiver only managed to raise about £102,000.

Four years ago Gilling was told he would have to sell the home in Hoopers Pool, where his wife Naomi lived.

But a few days before the receiver was appointed, the house burned down in what the fire service suspected was arson.

Gilling was not in court to hear the case, brought under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

He was convicted of conspiracy to rob and to burgle following a five-week trial in 2007.

As well as robbing and burgling a string of post offices, he carried out an armed raid on the Gardiner Houlgate auction house, near Corsham, in 2005. They used sawn-off shotguns to ambush staff arriving for work and stole jewels and cash.

Porter Stephen Fuller and receptionist Lesley Hansford were confronted by the raiders, one in a balaclava and the other wearing a clown mask.

They were tied and gagged after Mr Fuller was forced at gunpoint to take the robbers to safes. The men then made off with the haul, worth about £330,000, in Mr Fuller’s car, which was later dumped outside Neston village hall.

In the previous two years Gilling was involved in 11 robberies and burglaries of post offices in west Wiltshire, Bath and Somerset which netted about £200,000.

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