Burglars target Ashley and Cheryl Cole's mansion

Burglars attempted to break into the mansion of Ashley Cole and his pop star wife Cheryl but fled when they realised the footballer was still inside.

The would-be raiders struck in the early hours yesterday at the house in Godalming, Surrey, apparently not expecting anyone to be at home.

X Factor judge Cheryl flew out to the US after performing at the Brits earlier this week, without her wedding ring.

But Ashley Cole, who faces new newspaper allegations linking him to other women, had decided to stay at home despite recent media attention.

In a statement, Surrey Police said: "We can confirm that officers were called to a house in the Godalming area at around 4.30am on Thursday morning following reports of a break-in. Investigations are ongoing."

It is believed that those responsible attempted to get into the mansion via a window that was either forced or had been left open.

Sources said that Chelsea and England star Cole, who is recovering from a broken ankle, was not alone in the property at the time. It was unclear if the defender made the 999 call himself.

Alerted to the presence of people inside the mansion, the raider or raiders fled the scene before police arrived.