One of the oldest mysteries surrounding the World Cup, is of course its theft back in 1966. That was of course the year that England won the coveted soccer trophy, and it has just been claimed that a London based gangster was behind its theft.
The World Cup trophy was stolen from a church hall in Westminster where it had been on display, and the son of Reg Cugullere and his brother Sidney were the culprits, according to the son of Reg!
The trophy itself was being displayed before the tournament began in a Methodist church hall, and whilst today you would expect all manner of surety systems to be in place, at the time there were none, and as such it was, to coin a phrase, a sitting duck for any of London’s underground characters of the era to take their chances at stealing it.
Gary Cugullere the son of Reg has decided to come clean about the crime, which at the time sparked a massive investigation by Scotland Yard, which was the biggest investigation they had ever held for a crime of this nature.
However, seven days after its disappearance it was found in some bushes, by a dog called Pickles who sniffed it out from those bushes outside his owner’s home. As the years ticked by, and even after the huge police investigation no one what so ever was on the police radar for the actual theft, and it became the stuff of legends as to whom had stolen it!
The reason why Reg and his brother had stolen the World Cup trophy was probably for financial gain, and Gary the son of Reg said that both men had broken into the church hall, but it was Sidney who had taken the cup not Reg.
Speaking to a national newspaper in the UK Gary claimed that it was only when the two men were outside and making their getaway that Sidney produced the cup from underneath his jacket.
That then left both men with the daunting task of trying to sell it, and there was no way they could find a buyer for it, with all local gangsters and the criminal underworld who could have fenced it being aware every police officer in the country was looking for it, so a plan was launched whereby they would ask for a ransom for its safe return!
£15,000 Ransom Demand
They decided to send the top of the trophy in a package, to prove they had the rest of it, along with the ransom demand for a hefty £15,000 to Chelsea Football Club, knowing that whoever opened the package would know who to contact to get the ransom paid.
It was the task of a Detective Inspector Leonard Buggy to meet with one of the brother’s mates Edward Betchley who was tasked with being their go-between, and it was in London’s Battersea Park they met, and the police officer showed him a briefcase, but it only contained dummy notes.
They then set off to pick up the cup, as Betchley believed the money was real and he would be handed it once the cup was handed back, however it soon dawned on Betchley that the car him and the police officer was in was being followed, so he jumped out of the car at a road junction and made his escape.
He didn’t get very far though and was arrested, and to this day has been the only person charged with the theft of the World Cup trophy.
Whether the hapless duo Sidney and Reg did steal the cup, we will never know for Sidney died back in 2005 whilst his brother Reg died seven years later in 2012. But accordingly, to Gary they were the masterminds behind its theft, but hapless masterminds at that!