The Millennium Dome raid was an attempted robbery of the Millennium Dome's diamond exhibition in Greenwich, South East London occurring on 7 November 2000. A local gang planned to ram-raid the De Beers diamond exhibition which was being held in the dome at the time. The gang had then planned to escape via the Thames in a speedboat. The De Beers diamond exhibition had a number of jewels on display, including the Millennium Star, a flawless 203.04 carats (40.608 g) gem with an estimated worth of £200 million and considered one of the most perfect gems in the world. Also on display were priceless blue diamonds. The attempted robbery was foiled by the Flying Squad of the Metropolitan Police Service, as a result of information from Kent Police Serious Crime who already had the gang members under surveillance for their suspected roles in a number of unsuccessful armoured vehicle robberies. The operation to foil the robbery was the biggest operation undertaken in the Flying Squad's history and at trial the judge in the case commended the way it was carried out.
If the heist had succeeded, then with a haul of £350 million worth of diamonds, it would have become one of the biggest robberies in history.
In April 1998, nearly two years before its opening, the Millennium Dome was already attracting ridicule. Nobody seemed quite sure what was going to be in it or what it was for. The club magazine Mixmag, of which I was editor, published a cartoon spread suggesting the dome become a huge rave - a temple to dance music. There was to be an entrance tunnel modelled on a DJ's nostrils, a "moody jungle" section, a Lost Ecstasy Mountain and a corporate "Tong Tower" honouring mogul DJ Pete Tong. It was a flight of fancy, no more. But now it has come true.
On New Year's Eve the dome will open to the public for the first time this year - and welcome 20,000-plus into a Ministry of Sound rave.23:00 - 00:00