Wads of cash and unseen mugshots: Rare Great Train Robbery scrapbooks made by first policeman at the scene sell for £13,000

The mugshots of the train robbers. (SWNS)

Scrapbooks containing a unique insight into Britain's most notorious crime, the Great Train Robbery, have been sold at auction for £13,000.

The fascinating collection of photos, newspaper clippings and posters was put together by John Bailey, the first detective on the scene of the infamous robbery on August 8, 1963.

[On This Day: Great Train Robbers stole £2.6million in heist that gripped the nation]

Police mugshots of the criminals, including two-time prison-escapee Ronnie Biggs, and pictures of sacks stuffed with bank notes fill the pages.

The scrapbooks provide a look into one of the biggest crimes in Britain's history - from the moment police were alerted right until the robbers were sent to prison.

The retired copper, now 81, said he had no idea at the time how famous the crime would become.

It was sold to a private collector for more than four times their estimate.

A 15-strong gang stole £2.6million - worth £46m today - from a Post Office train heading to London.

They boarded the locomotive wearing ski masks and helmets, struck train driver Jack Mills on the head with an iron bar, and made off with sackfuls of cash.

The group fled to an abandoned farm 17 miles away to divide their loot - then scattered.

Just a year later 12 of the men were sentenced to more than 300 years behind bars for the crime.

Senior valuer Chris Albury at Dominic Winter Auctioneers in South Cerney, Gloucestershire, said: "Actually looking at the photographs I found them particularly haunting.

"I was a toddler at the time so it didn't mean anything to me when it happened.

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

"To hear John describing his memories of it as I looked through and his explanation of how the album hinged together took me back to that time."

Auctioneer Dominic Winter said: "To get all the way up to £13,000 is very pleasing for us, as well as for Mr Bailey himself, who rightly decided now was the best time to sell his collection."