Socialite robbed: $97m heist an ‘inside job’

The daughter of ex-Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone alerted thieves she was away with an Instagram post of her boarding a plane just hours before she was burgled of $97 million of jewellery.

Police are hunting for the three crooks who stole rings, earrings and a $150,000 Cartier bangle from Tamara Ecclestone's $136 million London home amid claims it was an inside job.

Her neighbours in the billionaires row in Kensington include Prince William and Kate, and Roman Abramovich, the owner of the Premier League Chelsea Football Club.

Ms Ecclestone shared a snap of her getting on a private jet with her daughter on Friday to head on a family holiday to Lapland, in Finland's north, before the thieves pounced.

 

She posted on Instagram after the raid a bible quote from Luke 8:17: "For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open."

The thieves were in the home for 50 minutes and cleaned out her entire collection from safes hidden in a bedroom.

One of the security guards was filling up one of the family's cars with fuel, while another was reportedly at the property.

Her dad, Bernie Ecclestone, 89, said: "I don't have all the facts but given all the security at the house, I'm assuming it was an inside job.

"It's an awful thing to happen just after she had left the house to go to Lapland. Although maybe it's better that she wasn't in at the time," he told the SunOnline.

UK police used sniffer dogs to search the property and have been reviewing CCTV from some of the many cameras at the home and in the ritzy street, which is also home to six foreign embassies and has armed police guards.

Detective Sergeant Matthew Pountney said: "A number of officers, including the dog unit, deployed to the residential property in Palace Green, W8.

"However, the suspects had already left the scene when the call to police was made.

"At this time we are investigating this as an isolated burglary and we are retaining an open mind around other lines of inquiry."

The security gates at Palace Green, the location of Tamara Ecclestone's home in Kensington, London. Picture: AFP
The security gates at Palace Green, the location of Tamara Ecclestone's home in Kensington, London. Picture: AFP


He added: "Police were called by security within the building to three males who had been present inside the property and a fast-paced investigation is under way to locate the suspects and missing items."

Christopher Marinello of Art Recovery International, said there was a market for the stolen jewellery. "There is a market where people buy things like watches fully-formed, and don't ask questions about where they come from," he told The Times of London.

"But they run the risk of getting caught and having to hand the items over."

Diamonds were likely to be taken out of rings and sold, he added.

A spokesman for Ms Ecclestone said: "I can sadly confirm there has been a home invasion. Internal security are cooperating with police in this matter.

"Tamara and family are well but obviously angry and shaken by the incident.

"If anyone has information that could help in investigations then please call the police on 101, quoting reference 8786/13DEC19."

stephen.drill@news.co.uk


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