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Gang members jailed for UK’s biggest burglary spree targeting celebrities.

Three members of the gang that stole £26 million (€30.5 million) worth of cash, jewellery and gems from celebrity homes in Britain’s biggest ever burglary spree have been jailed.

Italian nationals Jugoslav Jovanovic (24), Alessandro Maltese (45) and Alessandro Donati (44) were behind three raids in west London over just 13 days in December 2019.

Victims included former Chelsea FC midfielder and manager Frank Lampard, (43) and his wife, television presenter Christine (42), the late Leicester City FC owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha and socialite Tamara Ecclestone.

Ms Ecclestone (37), the daughter of ex-Formula 1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone, was on holiday in Lapland with her husband, art gallery owner Jay Rutland (38), their daughter and their dog when their mansion in Palace Green, Kensington, was raided on December 13th.

Hundreds of items of jewellery, cash, diamonds and precious stones worth £25 million were stolen from the 2,000sq ft property, which is spread over six floors, in what is believed to have been the country’s biggest ever domestic burglary.

Police said the gang are believed to have carried out similar crimes against high-profile victims across Europe and had planned to commit further raids on the rich and famous in the UK.

Detectives have not revealed the identities of other potential victims, who did not know how close they came to being burgled as the thieves carried out reconnaissance missions and dummy runs.

Extradited

Jovanovic, Maltese and Donati were extradited from Italy and pleaded guilty to conspiracy to burgle between November 29th and December 18th, 2019, over the three raids.

Jovanovic also admitted conspiracy to commit money laundering between December 10th, 2019, and January 31st last year, and one count of attempting to convert criminal property.

He was jailed for 11 years by Judge Martin Edmunds at Isleworth Crown Court on Monday, while Maltese and Donati were each sentenced to eight years and nine months in prison.

The men, who were brought to court under armed police guard as a helicopter flew overhead, will return to Italy to serve their sentences following proceeds of crime proceedings in the UK.

A fourth member of the gang, Daniel Vukovic (44), believed to be a Serbian national who uses a string of aliases, fled to the capital Belgrade, where he is still thought to be following a failed extradition bid.

Prosecutor Timothy Cray said he was “the prime mover in organising the team in the UK” which “planned and executed the highest value burglaries that have ever come to light” in the country.

Loot

Only a handful of items have been recovered with the rest of the £26 million worth of loot believed to have been taken abroad.

The Lampards had about £60,000 in watches and jewellery stolen while they were out of their Chelsea property on December 1st.

On December 10th, the gang targeted Mr Srivaddhanaprabha’s Knightsbridge home, which had been turned into a shrine by his family following his death, aged 60, in a helicopter crash shortly after take-off from the King Power Stadium on October 27th, 2018.

Among more than £1 million in property stolen was a TAG Heuer watch he was wearing before he left for Leicester that day.

The burglars even popped a £500 bottle of Cristal champagne to drink as they carried out the raid and later celebrated with a £760 sushi meal in Knightsbridge restaurant, Zuma.

Jovanovic and his uncle Vukovic were later seen on CCTV in Harrods department store spending thousands of pounds on luxury goods and signing up for loyalty cards using fake names. – PA

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