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By Alex Johnson

Eight men were charged Wednesday in connection with a daring Easter weekend heist in London's tony Hatton Garden diamond district that netted more than $300 million in cash, diamonds and other valuables, police said.

Metropolitan Police said eight of the nine men arrested Tuesday in coordinated raids by more than 200 officers at 12 locations were charged with conspiracy to burgle.

"A number of large bags containing significant amounts of high-value property have been recovered from one address," police said. "Officers are confident these are items stolen during the burglary."

All eight men — two of them in their 70s and all of them 48 or older — were held pending a court hearing Thursday. At least two of them — Brian Reader, 76, and Paul Reader, 50, live at the same address and are believed to be related.

The ninth man, who hasn't been officially identified but was reported to be 43 years old, was freed on bail pending further investigation, police said.

Security camera footage of the April 3 robbery showed the burglars, disguised as construction workers, entering a building in Hatton Garden through a side entrance. They climbed down an elevator shaft and used industrial tools to break through almost seven feet of reinforced concrete into the basement vault.

The thieves made away with about 70 safety-deposit boxes, containing loot estimated to be worth as much as 200 million pounds, or $310 million.

Police were heavily criticized after it emerged that they failed to respond to an alarm that went off while the robbers were in the middle of the crime.

Peter Spindler, commander of the Metropolitan Police Service's specialist crime unit, apologized Tuesday, acknowledging that "at times we have been portrayed as if we've acted like Keystone Kops."

"But I want to reassure you that in the finest traditions of Scotland Yard, these detectives have done their utmost to bring justice for the victims of this callous crime," he said.

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