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On This Day… The World Cup Stolen!

Written by: George Chittenden : 09 Jul 2019

It was on this day, 20th March, back in 1966 when the football World Cup trophy was stolen while on display at Central Hall in Westminster, London. The solid-gold Jules Rimet trophy was insured for £30,000. The exhibition in Westminster had only opened the previous day, and the World Cup was one of its key features.

Guards discovered the display case had been broken into and the trophy had been stolen around midday. The following day the Chairman of the Football Association, Joe Mears, received an anonymous phone call demanding a ransom. Despite warnings not to do so, he informed the police. The Flying Squad created a false ransom payment out of bundles of paper, with real money on the top and bottom.

After organising an exchange, the Flying Squad arrested and convicted Edward Betchley for the crime. The Jules Rimet trophy was found by a man walking his dog in southeast London just over a week later. It’s widely believed that Betchley wasn’t working alone, and his accomplices panicked after his arrest.

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