Outdated security systems made the Hatton Garden heist possible, according to a jeweller and victim who suffered a six-figure dent to his pension fund.
Retired Kjeld Jacobsen, who ran his own store in the Fulham Road for more than 45 years, had uninsured jewellery worth hundreds of thousands of pounds in his safety deposit box.
Cruelly, it was the first time he had used such a service.
The Dane, who was hit by a string of violent robberies when he was in business, said: "The equipment and everything else they had was not up to date.
"In my business the second anything happened it would turn up on my mobile telephone saying what door what was opening and what had happened, even before I heard from the monitoring company.
"They should have had cameras everywhere, and the second anything happened they could have seen what had happened."
The pensioner, who has lived in Britain for 50 years, decided to use a deposit box for the first time last year when he closed down his jewellery shop in preparation for retirement.
He said: "I sold the lease back to the landlord and closed my business on February 28 last year and on the following Monday morning I put all the stock into Hatton Garden, and had it stolen five weeks later.
"I've never had anything outside my business, this was done because of retirement."
The ringleaders: (left-right) John Collins, Daniel Jones, Terry Perkins & Brian Reader.
The dad-of-two was in a car on his way to see the opera Swan Lake when he heard news of the heist on the radio.
He said: "I had a bit of a shock. I got out of the car and said 'I need to go for a walk', which I did, and that was it.
"I went to the Opera House and sat through Swan Lake, I don't remember a lot of it, and the second it was finished we drove to Hatton Garden."
It was only the following morning that Mr Jacobsen managed to speak to staff, who warned that his box may have been emptied.
It contained pieces of jewellery, a few loose stones and scrap from the company's workshop - altogether worth hundreds of thousands of pounds.
Just over a week later, he got a fateful phone call from police.
"I just called my wife and said 'it is empty, we have to live with that'," the 73-year-old said. "I could have insured it with ease and it wouldn't have been expensive, but you don't normally insure when you put things into a safe deposit box.
"The whole point is that you don't tell anybody what goes in there and you can go and put more in and take things out. So generally you don't insure."
TODAY'S TOP STORIES:
- APPEAL: Elderly man with dementia missing from Erith
- TRAVEL WARNING: Queues after crash at Darenth Interchange
- UPDATE: Trapped passengers rescued from top deck of bus after Bromley crash
- VIDEO: McDonald's worker fired after 'humiliating homeless man by throwing burger on the floor'
- APPEAL: Police looking for man who rubbed his groin on 16-year-old girl's back at Chislehurst bus stop
He added: "We will have to think about a few things that we might not be able to do, but generally we can deal with it, we have to.
"It's a question of just realising that at least you are alive, you can have some fun anyway in your retirement and get on top of it. I have done that.
"There is absolutely nothing you can do about it.
"You go around for three or four days and think you're a bloody fool that you didn't get insured. But having not done it, that's the end of the story."
Police have so far recovered around a third of what he lost, although most of the "really good stuff" has gone.
Some of the returned pieces were earmarked to be melted down, and was saved by Flying Squad detectives.
The former jeweller said initial press coverage of the burglary hurt because it gave the impression "that these people were very special and they got away with it".
He added: "I don't think that what they did, that we should make heroes out of them. No, not at all. They are criminals and they should be locked up."