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Page 3 Profile: Richard Benyon, Conservative MP

Bad day?

Poor old Richard Benyon. The Conservative MP for Newbury has revealed that last Monday was a rotter. Just hours after being sacked as Fisheries Minister in the Cabinet reshuffle, his country estate at Englefield, Berkshire, was terrorised by vandals who caused £1m of damage.

How much?

You heard correctly. They crashed a Jeep into three light aircraft – causing horses to bolt from a paddock on to a busy road. The car was found in flames. Mr Benyon said of the episode: "The horses were running up and down the A4 – the vehicle had smashed into the aircraft, pushing one into the buildings, and it then crashed through gates and across fields."

Jeep… aircraft… horses?

Yes, the 52-year-old isn't short of a few bob. In fact, the great-great-grandson of former Prime Minister Lord Salisbury is reckoned to be the country's richest MP, worth an estimated £110m, thanks largely to the family-run Englefield Charitable Trust, of which he is a director.

He must be frightfully annoyed by all this…

He says he has been "plagued" for years by gangs staging illegal hare coursing events on his 20,000-acre estate, as well as vandalising and stealing crops.

Who knew it got so rowdy out in the shires…

Thames Valley Police say they have arrested and bailed one man – but are still hunting a second person. For local residents – who include the Duchess of Cambridge's parents Michael and Carole Middleton, who live just down the road in a £7m country mansion – the best advice for now may be to remain vigilant at all times, stow away your light aircraft – and lock up your horses.

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