£100,000 jewellery stolen in raid on tycoon's home
Jewellery worth more than £100,000 was stolen during a raid at the home of the elderly founder of Barratt Homes, police said today.
The haul, which included ruby and diamond necklaces, bracelets and earrings, was stolen from the mansion of Sir Lawrie Barratt on Monday night.
Masked men broke into the huge detached property, which is in its own grounds in Corbridge, Northumberland, while Sir Lawrie and one other person were inside.
Officers investigating the burglary believe the items were stolen for the purpose of being sold and are asking the public to contact them if they are offered jewellery to buy.
Northumbria Police have refused to identify the victims of the burglary.
But villagers confirmed that the property tycoon, whose granddaughter is married to Newcastle United defender Sol Campbell, was the target of the three raiders, who had Scottish accents.
One neighbour said: "It's the talk of the village. Everybody hopes he is all right, because he is a lovely older gentleman.
"There has been a lot of police activity, with officers coming door-to-door along Main Street. They wouldn't say what exactly happened but called it a serious incident."
Sir Lawrie made a fortune after founding Barratt Developments in the 1950s, which became one of the country's largest housebuilders. He is now retired and in his 80s.
Another local was surprised the criminals managed to get past the high security.
"The place is surrounded by cameras," he said. "It was hard enough getting in to collect conkers when we were little."
Detective Chief Inspector Paul Young said: "Three men were involved with this incident. They were wearing dark clothing and we believe they had their faces covered.
"They would have had to get through the garden to gain entry to the property so we believe they may have had torches and possibly a vehicle.
"This was a distressing incident for the occupants. There were two people in the house at the time but thankfully they were not hurt.
"I would continue to appeal to anyone who saw or heard anything suspicious to come forward."
Mr Young stressed that incidents of this nature are not common in Corbridge and elsewhere in Northumberland, and said residents should be assured that extra patrols are operating in the community.
Anyone with any information is asked to call police on 03456 043 043 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
Threat of 'catastrophic cascade of collisions' must be averted, warn scientists
Wellcome Image Awards: The most striking images from the world of science, including breast cancer cells under chemical attack and a photographer’s own kidney stone
Missing Malaysia Airlines plane: 'No terror link' to Iranian men travelling on stolen passports
Bob Crow death: RMT Union leader dies of massive heart attack aged 52
Oscar Pistorius murder trial: Athlete repeatedly sick as court hears 'graphic details' of Reeva Steenkamp's post-mortem
How climate change helped Genghis Khan: Scientists believe a sudden period of warmer weather allowed the Mongols to invade with such success
Britain's top vet sparks controversy with call for ban on slashing animals' throats in 'ritual' slaughters for halal and kosher meat products
Poor 'live like animals' says Boris's privately educated sister after going on 'poverty safari'
Exclusive: Impact of immigrants on British workers ‘negligible’
Vince Cable: Teachers 'know absolutely nothing' about the world of work
Ukraine crisis: Russia pledges to 'retaliate against sanctions' as Ukrainian president says Crimea vote will not be recognised
The quiet diplomat: Catherine Ashton - recognised and admired in all the world’s troubled countries, yet ridiculed at home
- 1 Pakistan vs Paul Smith: Sandal-wearers bemused by famed British designer's attempts to sell traditional Peshawari chappal-style shoes for the distinctly untraditional sum of £300
- 2 Family forced to flee home after discovering nest of potentially deadly spiders in bananas
- 3 Grace Dent: Who cares if she spells it Barraco Barner? Gemma Worrall is more employable than some bookish arts graduate
- 4 Russell Crowe's Noah banned in three Arab countries before worldwide premiere
- 5 Bob Crow death: RMT Union leader dies of massive heart attack aged 52