Ronnie Biggs, one of the culprits behind Britain's Great Train Robbery of 1963, was being transferred to a London area nursing home on Monday after securing his release from prison last week on compassionate grounds.


Convicted train robber Ronnie Biggs leaves a police station on his way to court in 2001. ((Alastair Grant/Associated Press))

Biggs, 80, was deemed healthy enough to make the journey from a Norfolk and Norwich hospital, where he was being treated for severe pneumonia and a chest infection, according to British media reports.

Biggs, who was serving a 30-year sentence, will be under the supervision of the country's probation service and if he were to break the conditions of his release, which include not breaking the law or travelling abroad, he will be returned to prison.

British Home Secretary Jack Straw, who rejected an earlier parole bid by Biggs last month, has said the decision to release him was based on medical evidence that he was not expected to recover.

His family had said during their appeal for his release that he was too ill to leave hospital, but his lawyer said the move to his "final home" means he is closer to his son, Michael.

British taxpayers will pay for his stay at the nursing home and he will be eligible to collect a small pension, lawyer Giovanni di Stefano said.

Biggs also has suffered a series of strokes that have left him bedridden. He has been in and out of the hospital since February, suffering from seizures and heart attacks.

Biggs is known for his part in the daring heist of 2.5 million pounds from a Glasgow-to-London night train by a gang of 15 robbers. Saturday also marks the 46th anniversary of the 1963 heist that was dubbed the crime of the century.

Biggs was given a 30-year sentence but escaped 15 months later and travelled under an alias to Australia, Argentina and Bolivia before settling in Brazil. He spent part of his loot on plastic surgery and fake travel documents.

He returned to Britain voluntarily in 2001, telling a U.K. tabloid newspaper his last wish was "to walk into a Margate pub as an Englishman and buy a pint of bitter."

With files from The Associated Press