Sunny

Sunny

max temp: 11°C

min temp: 5°C

Search

Suffolk aristocrat's 'criminal career'

PUBLISHED: 07:59 27 September 2007 | UPDATED: 18:00 26 February 2010

A NOTORIOUS Suffolk aristocrat with family links to some of the country's most famous peers has been identified as the most prolific jewellery thief of his time in fascinating newly publicised police documents

The criminal career of Victor Hervey, the 6th Marquess of Bristol, who was the father of society 'It' girls Victoria and Isabella Hervey, has been widely acknowledged since his death in 1985.

A NOTORIOUS Suffolk aristocrat with family links to some of the country's most famous peers has been identified as the most prolific jewellery thief of his time in fascinating newly publicised police documents

The criminal career of Victor Hervey, the 6th Marquess of Bristol, who was the father of society 'It' girls Victoria and Isabella Hervey, has been widely acknowledged since his death in 1985.

But a newly-released Metropolitan police file has proved once and for all that the one-time resident of Ickworth Hall, near Bury St Edmunds, was in fact the Pink Panther of his day.

The document, held at the National Archives, claims the marquess was behind “almost every jewellery robbery in the metropolitan area and within areas outside London”.

An anonymous letter contained in the report, which was completed by the Criminal Investigation Department at New Scotland Yard in January 1946 - outlines details of Hervey's illegal pursuits, and claimed the thief should be watched “night and day”.

“This villain is one of the most unscrupulous, calculating and cunning criminals at large,” the letter said.

“No effort should be spared in ridding this ghastly parasite from our midst. He stops at nothing, and nothing is too low for him to stoop to in order to satisfy his lust and greed.”

As well as connecting Hervey to a number of jewellery robberies, investigations into the aristocrat's conduct - led by Det Insp Robert Fabian - unearthed allegations of arms and drugs running.

He was believed to have been behind one of the most audacious raids of the 1940s, when his black Rolls Royce was supposedly used as a getaway vehicle by four masked men who broke into Hever Castle in Kent and made off with historic treasures.

The author of the police report said he had carried out investigations into the activities of the marquess based on claims made in the anonymous letter.

As well as discovering Hervey usually resided on a house boat called 'Dry Martini', the CID officer said the peer often frequented “better class establishments”.

“Local gossip has it that he is contemplating shortly to organise a big game hunt in Africa,” he said. “He is almost immaculately dressed, and usually in the company of a number of ner-do-well sons and daughters of monied parents.

“Although vicious to almost a sadistic degree, I am certain he would not be fool enough to carry firearms.”

In 1939, Hervey was jailed for three years for two Mayfair jewellery robberies - including one at the home of a Russian princess - and admitted links to a gang of former public schoolboys known as the Mayfair Playboys.

The marquess eventually achieved some respectability as a businessman - with various interests in Suffolk - and as chancellor of the International Monarchist League.

In 1979, he and his third wife moved to Monte Carlo, where he died six years later at the age of 69.

Speaking to a national newspaper about the revelations in the police file, Hervey's second wife, Lady Juliet Tadgell, said she thought it was most unlikely he had been some kind of Raffles character, and said he was a reformed character by the time she met him.

A spokesman for Victoria Hervey said: “It is Lady Victoria's understanding that her father was set up falsely in connection with these incidents and that he took no part in the jewel thefts referenced, nor in any raid on Hever Castle.”

Two knife wielding robbers threatened staff at an Ipswich convenience shop before fleeing on foot with cash and cigarettes.

A major north Suffolk bridge has reopened after a fire had closed it to traffic.

Motorists are being warned of severe delays following a crash and car fire on the A12.

Don’t leave your New Year’s eve plans until last minute - see what events are happening around Suffolk with our guide.

A driver who was stopped in Ipswich for allegedly using a mobile phone behind the wheel has been arrested after reportedly giving a positive drugs test.

A pub landlord who smashed a pint glass over a customer was put behind bars this week. Take a look at the others here.

Hundreds of US air force staff from RAF Mildenhall and their families are moving to Gloucestershire as the Suffolk base prepares for closure.

Most read

Show Job Lists

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

MyDate24 MyPhotos24