THE incredible story of a daring London heist which saw thieves nick Largs icon Sir Thomas Brisbane’s military medals has resurfaced online.

The tale was uncovered by the team at North Ayrshire Heritage and Cultural Services, who had been researching the famous figure for International Astronomy Day.

The famous scientist, after whom the iconic Brisbane Observatory on the outskirts of the town is named, was awarded a large collection of medals during his time serving his country.

After joining the British Army in 1789, Brisbane had a distinguished career under the Duke of Wellington and received a knighthood in 1814.

His other medals included the Knight Grand Cross of the Order of Bath, the Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Guelphic Order, the Silver War Medal and the Army Gold Cross.

After his death in 1880, aged 87, his collection of medals and other commemorative items were in the hands of collectors for more than 100 years.

In 1962, the medals were targeted in an ambitious raid in London.

On February 10, a gang of thieves broke into Seaby’s in Great Portland Street, with oxy-acetylene cylinders hidden inside linoleum rolls.

The gang were targeting a large collection of gold bullion stored in the premises and took everything valuable in the main safe after blowing it open. The entire Brisbane medal collection was within, before the thieves tearing the ribbons from the astronomer's medals as they escaped.

None of the medals from the Brisbane collection were ever recovered. Police believe they were melted down and sold.

The gold coins and medals stolen in the raid were believed to be worth around half a million pounds in today’s money.

The story has recently been retold on the Largs History Group's Facebook page.