Burglars stole an ‘eye watering’ £400,000 worth of designer bags and jewellery from former England captain John Terry’s mansion after he posted a picture of himself enjoying a ski trip on Instagram.
The footballer, who now captains Championship side Aston Villa, posed for pictures on the slopes of the French Alps with his wife Toni, 35, boasting to his 3.4million followers on the social media site that he was having a ‘great few days away skiing with the family’.
But while the couple happily shared photos and videos of their lavish holiday, they didn’t realise the posts had attracted the attention of a ruthless gang of prolific burglars, who broke into their £5million mansion in Oxshott, Surrey, and spent hours ransacking the property, swiping designer handbags worth £126,000 and rare signed first edition Harry Potter books valued at £18,000.
Knowing that no one was home, the audacious gang took their time strolling around his property armed with axes. They spent 45 minutes plundering the master bedroom before returning later that night to break into a safe.
On Thursday, Kingston Crown Court heard how an ‘eye watering’ collection of designer jewellery and handbags were looted from the ‘vast’ collection of Mrs Terry, who loves designer handbags so much that her 36-year-old husband had a handbag shaped cake made for her birthday last year, which she proudly shared on Instagram.
The raiders discovered that the footballer’s wife had so many handbags, they were unable to carry them all and instead plumped only for the 28 most valuable items including a £42,000 snakeskin Hermes bag, Chanel bags worth £8,000 and others from Gucci, Louis Vuitton and Yves Saint Laurent.
Details of the raid on February 25 this year emerged for the first time yesterday.
The gang responsible now face years behind bars for burgling the former Chelsea captain and also carrying out a string of other raids on millionaires’ homes in the stockbroker belt which netted them a total of £600,000.
Rossano Scamardella, prosecuting, said: ‘The burglaries were carefully planned and were carried out with ruthless efficiency.
‘The deliberate targeting of expensive homes, guaranteed that once access had been gained, the items found within, would be sought-after luxury goods.
‘The most high-profile and best example of this, was the burglary of former England football captain, John Terry’s, home address.
‘The whole family was enjoying a short break abroad, skiing.
‘At the time Mr Terry made the mistake of posting a photograph of himself and his family on the social media platform, Instagram.
‘Revealing as it must have done to anyone who saw it, that their house was empty
Handbags to the value of £126,000, were stolen including Louis Vuitton and Chanel as well as other brands.
‘One snake skin handbag was valued at £42,000. There was a number of handbags left behind so quite a vast collection.
‘The total value of items stolen was £380,000. The total for damage was more than £19,000.’
At a previous hearing Darren Eastaugh, 30, Joshua Sumer, 27, Roy Head, 28, and 25-year-old Oliver Hart pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit burglary between February 1 and March 27 this year.
The conspiracy involved seven burglaries across Surrey and Sussex earlier this year, with a total lost from all of them was £600,000.
A fifth man Kye Hardy-King, 25, pleaded guilty to one count of handling stolen goods when some of the stolen property was found at his home
None of the items taken during the Terry raid have ever been recovered.
Other victims targeted included multi-millionaire trailer home businessmen Alfie Best, known as the ‘gypsy king’ who had nearly £150,000 worth of luxury goods stolen weeks after the raid on Mr Terry’s home.
Mr Best was born into a Romany gypsy family and made his millions from a luxury trailer home business and his property empire.
He recently appeared in the Channel 4 series ‘How’d you get so rich?’ where he discussed his £250million fortune and how he spends it.
The court was told Eastaugh, Hart, Head and Sumer all have a string of previous convictions stretching back 10 years.
The defendants were identified from the CCTV at the footballer’s house as well as footage from a nearby petrol garage and cell site data from their mobile phones which placed all of them in the area at the time.
All five are due to be sentenced tomorrow.