On this day: 'Great Train Robbers' sentenced to more than 300 years

Sentences were passed on 12 men, who received some of the longest prison terms in British history for the £2.6m heist.

On this day: 'Great Train Robbers' sentenced to more than 300 years

April 16, 1964: Twelve men who pulled off an audacious train robbery which captured the imagination of the British public received more than 300 years behind bars on this day in 1964.

Perpetrators of the 'Great Train Robbery' were handed sentences of a combined 307 years for holding up a Glasgow to London night mail train and escaping with £2.6m - £46m in today's terms.

The gang, who were wearing ski masks and helmets, boarded the train in Buckinghamshire and made off with 120 bags of notes on August 8, 1963. Train driver Jack Mills was struck over the head with an iron bar - but it was never revealed who was responsible for the violence.

Ronnie Biggs, who became one of Britain's most infamous criminals, was jailed for 30 years for conspiracy to rob and armed robbery, along with Douglas Goody, Charles Wilson, Thomas Wisbey, Robert Welch, James Hussey and Roy James, who all received the same terms.

Brian and Leonard Field were both put behind bars for 25 years, while William Boal received 24 years, Roger Cordrey 20 years, and John Wheater three years.

In passing sentence, Mr Justice Edmund Davies referenced the celebrity status the criminals had received in the wake of the robbery.

In particular he focused on the act of violence against Mr Mills, who never fully recovered from his injuries.

He said: "Let us clear out of the way any romantic notions of daredevilry. This is nothing less than a sordid crime of violence inspired by vast greed."

The audacious crime became notorious among the British public and was romanticised as a dramatic escapade fitting for a Wild West film.

But the heist was not without victims as this Pathé report shows.

The footage features a look at the Durham Prison, where three of the great train robbers were serving their sentence.

The prisoners had complained about their treatment, but the narrator notes: "While the prisoners are sewing mail bags its doubtful whether they ever gave Jack Mills, broken and bedridden, very much thought."