A London gangster and his brother were behind the notorious unsolved theft of the World Cup trophy just months before the 1966 tournament in England, it has been claimed.
Sidney Cugullere, with the help of his brother Reg, stole the Jules Rimet trophy while it was on public exhibition at the Methodist Central Hall in Westminster, Reg’s son Gary said.
The theft led to one of the biggest investigations in Scotland Yard’s history, before the gold cup was found seven days later by a dog named Pickles in bushes outside his owner’s south London home. The masterminds behind the heist remained a mystery.
Gary told the Daily Mirror that his uncle Sidney had stolen the trophy “for the thrill” and not for financial gain – and that Reg had also been in the hall at the time of the theft but had not seen Sidney take the cup.
He added: “On the street after coming out of the doors, Sid lifted his jacket and said, ”Ere you are, Reg, look at this’. He opened one side of his jacket and the World Cup was there.”
Gary claimed the pair hid it in Reg’s father-in-law’s coal shed.
“My dad was freaking out and he knew there was no way they could sell the cup. They realised they had to give it back,” he added.
The trophy was snatched on March 20 1966. Three days later a package containing the top of the trophy and a typed ransom note demanding £15,000 arrived at Chelsea Football Club, sparking a full-scale police operation.
Detective Inspector Leonard Buggy was called in to meet a go-between called Edward Betchley, later jailed for his part in the theft.
Mr Buggy met Betchley in London’s Battersea Park and showed him a briefcase containing the cash, in dummy notes.
The pair drove off to collect the cup from its hiding place, but Betchley jumped out and fled having realised the car was being shadowed by police and the handover never took place.
He was arrested minutes later but refused to reveal the whereabouts of the cup.
According to the Daily Mirror, Sidney died in 2005 without ever being caught, while Reg died in 2012.
Stay updated with the latest news, gossip and football stories by following us @Football_P