REVEALED: Premier League stars spend thousands to hire ex-SAS officers
EXCLUSIVE REVEALED: Premier League footballers spend thousands on hiring ex-SAS officers, purchasing protection dogs and installing steel panic rooms with emergency phone lines as foreign gangs fly over to raid stars’ homes for high-end watches and jewellery
- Organised gangs are targeting the homes of Premier League footballers
- Players are spending thousands of pounds on security for protection
- West Ham can WIN the League Cup… don’t get hung up on rotation. Sod it! Go all out at Anfield – It’s All Kicking Off
Premier League footballers are being targeted by foreign gangs who fly into the UK to ransack houses – before jetting out with their loot.
In a shocking development Mail Sport understands that organised groups, often from Albania, are lining up high net worth individuals on these shores – including top flight players – in a move that has not gone unnoticed by security forces who work with clubs and their stars.
After Manchester City’s Kevin de Bruyne became the latest big name to have his home raided, it can also be disclosed that:
- The growth in popularity of the women’s game has triggered concerns over the presence of stalkers
- Some players have been followed home by their own fans following defeats
- A number of elite stars are shelling out ‘several hundreds of thousands’ on steel-enforced panic rooms at their mansions
- ‘Spotters’ are staking out high-end jewellers to identify targets
Kevin De Bruyne’s house was raided on Saturday while he and his family, including wife Michele Lacroix (right) were away
Raheem Sterling (right) returned home from last year’s World Cup when his house was raided
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De Bruyne’s 70-acre mansion in Belgium was reportedly broken into on Saturday while he and the rest of his family were away.
Last year the 32-year-old’s former City team-mate Raheem Sterling was forced to return home from the World Cup following a raid at his home in Surrey. Others, including Jesse Lingard, Joao Cancelo, Victor Lindelof and Paul Pogba have also been targeted.
Security sources have disclosed that there is now a worrying trend to contend with outside of the traditional criminal gangs from English cities such as London, Manchester and Liverpool.
It is thought groups arrive from overseas armed with accomplices. They target high net worth individuals – including footballers – and scour the internet to find addresses. The aim is to swipe luxury items such as high-end watches and jewellery, with the crooks then brazenly walking through airport security wearing their stolen goods.
A worrying situation has been impacted by a change in spending behaviours. Clubs are aware that a reduction in the availability of traditional targets – such as vans carrying large amounts of cash from retailers to banks – has led gangs to look elsewhere.
Joao Cancelo was assaulted during his time at Man City when his house was targeted
Chelsea captain Reece James also had his house targeted by a gang of thieves in 2021
CCTV cameras showed the gang loading a safe into a getaway car after raiding James’ house
Lectures have been delivered to players, aimed at reducing the likelihood that they will be targeted. They have been told not to post images on social media of holidays or of them attending events away from home until they have returned.
There are also concerns that the growing interest in the women’s game has led to an increase in unwanted attention at training grounds and outside stadiums.
And, on a number of occasions last season, stars in the men’s game were followed home after costly defeats for their teams.
Panicked players have installed wide-ranging security measures at their homes for some years. A number are understood to have spent hundreds of thousands on panic rooms. In many cases they are effectively a steel box, which feature secure lines and panic alarms which will work even if outside wires are cut.
Virtual perimeters, known as geofencing, are also commonplace. Geofencing is effectively an invisible wall on the boundaries of properties which are monitored by CCTV and motion sensors.
Should the system be triggered, occupants have time to reach safe areas, while assistance is immediately requested.
Drivers often double-up as protection officers, given the prospect of potential car-jackings, while some have live-in bodyguards. House sitters have also become commonplace – especially for those playing in Europe. Thousands have also been spent on guard dogs. Known as ‘protection dogs’ the highly trained animals include Alsatians and Rottweilers.
Players have been told not to visit jewellers but to instead have companies visit them at home. There have been instances of ‘spotters’ waiting outside high-end stores, seeking to identify potential victims.
Mason Mount (centre) and Billy Gilmour (right) were stalked during their time at Chelsea, while the female stalker also harassed Ben Chilwell (left)
Instagram influencer Orla Sloan (pictured), labelled the ‘Devil Baby’, avoided jail earlier this year after stalking Mount and Gilmour, and harassing Chilwell
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A number of clubs, including Manchester United, have turned to specialist former bodyguards who have experience providing protection for the likes of the royal family and global leaders.
Some have their own, round-the-clock mobile response teams, ready to respond in the event of an emergency. Checks are now routinely carried out on hotels ahead of away games, and train stations should clubs travel by rail.
In some instances players pay for their own protection while the levels of security provided by each club is said to differ considerably.
Counselling and support has also been provided to players and family members who have suffered traumatic break-ins.
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