Bruce Reynolds, the mastermind behind the Great Train Robbery, has died at the age of 81.

The man who thought up Britain's most famous heist passed away at his home in south London earlier this week (begs25Feb13) following a short illness.

His death comes in the same year as the 50th anniversary of the robbery.

Reynolds organised a gang to steal $4.1 million (£2.6 million) from a mail train held up in Buckinghamshire, England in August 1963 and he subsequently spent five years on the run in South America.

He returned to the U.K. and was sentenced to 10 years behind bars before being jailed again on a drug offence.

Reynolds spent the rest of his life lecturing and appearing on Tv to speak about criminal issues.

His son Nick says, "My dad was a quintessential Englishman who happened to spend some of his life on the wrong side of the tracks."