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Lord and Lady March 'recovering' after Goodwood raid

Published 15/01/2016

Goodwood House near Chichester, Sussex, was targeted by burglars
Goodwood House near Chichester, Sussex, was targeted by burglars
Some of the heirlooms stolen in a raid at Goodwood, one of Britain's most treasured stately homes.

Lord and Lady March are "recovering" after being assaulted and tied up in Goodwood House by a burglar who stole £700,000 of treasured family heirlooms.

The 61-year-old and his 54-year-old wife, who were attacked at their stately home on Wednesday morning, described the ordeal as "challenging".

But he said they were "entirely focused" on getting back the stolen goods which have "personal significance" and "historical value".

In a statement, Lord March said: "The last 48 hours have been challenging and I would like to thank Sussex Police, my team here at Goodwood and the local and national press for their support.

"I am pleased to tell you that we are both recovering and entirely focused on providing the police with anything that may help recover the stolen items some of which have such personal significance and others such historical value."

Lord March, who is also known as Charles Gordon-Lennox, released the statement after Sussex Police appealed for more information about the break-in at the stately home near Chichester, West Sussex.

At around 4.30am on Wednesday Lady March, also known as Jane Astor, was disturbed as the intruder broke in an upstairs window using a ladder, police said.

The burglar pushed Lady March before striking her husband's head causing an injury to his ear, Detective Inspector Till Sanderson said.

Det Insp Sanderson added: "Lady March was then forced to open a safe and the man helped himself to jewellery.

"The couple were bound before the robber escaped with the items.

"This was a frightening ordeal and I pay tribute to the courage of Lord and Lady March."

Lord March, who founded the Goodwood Festival of Speed in 1993, and his wife were "devastated" at the theft of "priceless" items, police said.

Treasures, including an 1820 diamond tiara worth nearly £400,000, diamond necklaces and several luxury watches, including antique Rolex and Girard Perregaux timepieces, were stolen.

Other items taken included an emerald intaglio and diamond ring from 1800, engraved with the Duchess's coronet and monogram CL for Louise de Keroualle, mistress of Charles II.

More than 40 items were stolen including emerald, diamond and sapphire rings, earrings, bracelets and necklaces, Sussex Police said as they appealed for information.

Chief Inspector Justin Burtenshaw said: "They (Lord and Lady March) are devastated at the loss of these priceless items. I would like to praise the courage of both of them, both during the ordeal and afterwards now as we investigate.

"We are doing everything we can to locate the stolen treasures."

Investigators were working with auction houses, stately homes, dealers and those with specialist knowledge to try to trace the heirlooms.

A 26-year-old man from Hampshire has been arrested in connection with the incident and released on bail until February while investigations continue.

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