The incredible moment stunned military buffs discovered five gold bars worth £2million hidden inside an Iraqi tank has been captured on camera.
Nick Mead and Todd Chamberlain expected to find rusty guns when they investigated the diesel container of a tank they had just bought for £30,000 on ebay.
Mr Mead, who runs Tanks-a-Lot in Helmdon, Northamptonshire, filmed their search and was left gobsmacked when instead of artillery his mechanic pulled out a stash of glistening bullion.
As Mr Chamberlain pulled out bar after bar Nick Mead exclaimed ‘It’s better than having puppies.’ But he later admitted on camera that the pair were unlikely to be able to keep the gold (pictured)
Seconds before the discovery Mr Mead is heard telling his colleagues what they should do with the weapons in the tank, only for Mr Chamberlain to pull out the gold and exclaim: ‘Well, it’s not guns that’s for sure.’
He then proceeds to recover the rest of the bars, believed to have been looted by Iraqi soldiers during the invasion of Kuwait in 1990, while an excited Mr Mead celebrates from behind the camera.
Mr Mead says: ‘Is that what I think it is? How heavy is it? Seriously?! Is that gold? Oh god, that’s about five or six kilos. Wow, good here init [sic].
‘See how many there are, find the rest! Yeehaah! What are we going to do with them?
‘Oh my God. I don’t believe it, what do you reckon they’re worth? Where did they come from? It could be Kuwaiti or Iraqi.
‘How many more are there? This is better than having puppies! Incredible.’
After pulling the bullion from inside the Chinese-made T54 tank, the pair then ring the police to register their find.
Talking to the camera, Mr Mead says: ‘It’s not something I’d thought I’d be doing, finding b***** great bars of gold hidden in a tank. Absolutely incredible.
‘But, we’ve got to ring the police. I don’t know whether this is millions or hundred of thousands worth. But one thing is for certain, I don’t want it lying around my office.
Mr Mead phoned the police after finding the gold and it is now being kept in a safety deposit box in London
Pictured: Mr Chamberlain weighs the gold, which was later estimated to be worth around £2million
Nick Mead (pictured left) and mechanic Todd Chamberlain with the tank. They found the gold inside the diesel tank, which they had just removed
‘We’ll get a receipt and hopefully, just hopefully, we’ll get to keep it. What’s the chance of us keeping it?
Off camera, some one replies: ‘Absolutely zero.’
The film then ends with the crew weighing their loot in order to find out how much it is worth.
The tank had been restored by previous owner Joe Hewes, 23, who replaced its tracks and fixed its engine without ever discovering the valuable booty inside.
Mr Mead, who has a collection of 150 military vehicles, had traded an Army lorry and an Abbot self-propelled gun for the tank.
Recalling the moment the pair found the gold, Mr Chamberlain told The Sun: ‘We didn’t know what to do. You can’t exactly take five gold bullion bars down to Cash Converters without questions being asked, so we called the police.’
He added that a quick calculation estimated the worth of the gold at £2million.
Mr Mead said: ‘We know it is definitely an Iraqi tank and our theory is the gold is from Kuwait but we don’t know.
‘When we found it, we were all laughing and joking and deciding what we were going to spend the money on.
An Iraqi T-72 tank rumbles down a road near Baghdad in 2003, prior to the invasion by a US-led coalition. Many of Saddam Hussein’s tanks were left behind in Kuwait after British and American forces liberated the country in 1991 (file picture)
The Chinese-made T54 tank was sold on eBay for around £30,000 by Joe Hewes, pictured, who bought it ‘ruined’ and restored it
‘My sister wanted a Land Rover and I would buy a Rolls Royce Phantom and chop the back off to make a pick-up truck.’
The exact history of Mr Hewes’ tank is unknown but an inspection revealed it is a Chinese copy of the Russian T-54 design and manufactured under the designation Type 69.
It was built in the early 1980s and has just 1507 miles on the clock.
Mr Mead said: ‘I saw it advertised and I had this idea of doing a ‘From Russia With Love’ experience where people would come and drive three Russian tanks.
‘I always keep an eye on military vehicles on EBay, I check it once every three days. I often sell tanks on EBay and I buy from there too.
‘It is unusual to get one of these now, they range from around £10k to £60k. I did well buying it for £30k.’
Meanwhile two officers from Northamptonshire Police took the bars away for investigation and handed him a receipt which is now being kept in a safety deposit box in London.
Although made in China, the tank design is a copy of a Soviet Russian model, and Mr Hewes had to use a Russian PDF and ‘guess work’ to get the engine running again
Mr Mead bought the tank after trading it for an Army lorry and an Abbot self-propelled gun (pictured)
It is thought inquiries will be made in Kuwait to see if the gold can be matched to any bullion which was stolen during Iraq’s invasion in August 1990.
‘It’s all very much up in the air at the moment,’ Mr Mead said. ‘It’s very early days and I’m not sure what will happen yet.’
He added that he was unsure if he would receive a ‘finders’ percentage.
But Mr Mead does not seem bothered that £2million might have just slipped through his fingers.
He said: ‘The chances of us keeping it are very slim.
‘I’ve had quite a few strange phone calls.
‘I got a call from one person claiming to be a colonel in the British Army saying it was his.
‘It’s really good fun to have found it. It certainly is interesting.’
A Northamptonshire Police spokesman said they could not comment ‘for operational reasons’.