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The burglaries – including that at Waddesdon Manor where a group of around 100 Rothschild gold boxes were stolen – have all followed a pattern. They have been carried out by a group of males aged between 20 and 40 years who have visited earlier to gain familiarity with entry points, security systems and the location of targeted objects.

Typically, stolen four-wheel drive vehicles or fast Japanese cars have been used to enter grounds and these have been driven right up to houses, enabling the thieves to make a fast getaway with stolen objects across uneven terrain.

AXA have produced a checklist of procedures for securing valuables:
• Monitor and record any unusual incidents, e.g. vehicles and people loitering near your property or driving past at strange times. Make a note of vehicle registration numbers and notify the local police.
• Be particularly vigilant if your house is open to the public and be aware of any unlikely visitors.
• Try to restrict unaccompanied access to your land and property as much as possible and take measures to prevent vehicular access to the grounds and immediate environs of your house.
• Be conscious of the vulnerability of windows and make use of shutters and sash stops.
• Maintain photographic records and detailed descriptions of the items in your collection. These are invaluable to the identification and recovery processes.