Detectives had less than 15 seconds of grainy CCTV footage to work with


hen detectives were called in to investigate Britain’s biggest burglary spree, they had less than 15 seconds of grainy black-and-white security CCTV footage to work with.

The gang behind the raids were stunned when, many months later, they were extradited to the UK from Italy to face justice.

Metropolitan Police Detective Constable Andrew Payne said: “They were amazed they had even been caught and actually praised us for having found them.

“They believed they were untouchable.”

He was called in to investigate following the burglary of the Kensington mansion of socialite Tamara Ecclestone 37, and her art gallery owner husband Jay Rutland 38.

Some £25 million worth of cash, jewellery, gems and watches was stolen from the six-floor property, close to Kensington Palace, in a raid on December 13, 2019.

About £1 million was earlier stolen from the gang’s other victims – former Chelsea FC midfielder and manager Frank Lampard 43, and his 42-year-old television presenter wife Christine, and the late Leicester City FC owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha.

They believed they were untouchable

Police recovered a combined total of less than 15 seconds of footage from the back of Ecclestone’s home, showing three figures making their entrance and getaway past a Wendy house.

Two Nokia mobile “burner” phones were also left inside the six-floor property during a confrontation with security guards, in which one was attacked with a fire extinguisher.

Police ruled out the burglary being an “inside job”, conducting sound tests to prove the burglars could not be heard once they were inside, in what is believed to be a first.

Extensive CCTV trawls revealed the burglars had travelled to Kensington from Victoria station, which detectives believed had been used as a transport hub by the gang.

Frame-by-frame CCTV analysis saw them flag down a black taxi during their getaway in Kensington Church Street.

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