Exclusive: England footballers put security guards on 24-hour alert after Raheem Sterling burglary

Despite the fact most players organise their own home security, the FA will remind them of their recommendations and contacts at local police constabularies that were made available before the World Cup about measures that can be taken.
On the subject of security for his England players, manager Gareth Southgate said: “We had offered that to players. Without talking about the individual details too much because I think it’s important we respect his [Sterling’s] privacy.

“But that was something we did discuss with the players before we left. I think there’s a little bit [for Sterling] in the midst of moving house that played a part in that. But we are very conscious of it. And with what’s happened, we will have that conversation again.”

Home security has become one of the biggest expenses for high-profile footballers over recent years, with estimates of those who compete in the Champions League and play for their national teams having to spend over £100,000 a year to try to keep their properties and families safe.

Security firms offer players different levels of protection from guards visiting their houses nightly, staying in their houses during every match in which the homeowner is involved and tailored security when players go out for dinner or away for football or holidays.

£40,000 guard dogs

Some players also employ personal bodyguards for their loved ones while they are away at major tournaments, which pushes the security costs much higher, and invest in guard dogs that can cost as much as £40,000.

Having initially confirmed the burglary on Sterling’s home, a second statement from Surrey Police said: “We are currently investigating a report of a burglary at an address in Oxshott, Leatherhead. On Saturday, December 3, the occupants returned to the address after arriving home from an international trip.

“They contacted police just before 9pm to report a number of items of jewellery, including watches, had been stolen. Officers attended the address later that night and returned to speak to the occupants this morning [Monday].

“At this time it remains unclear on which date the property was [burgled] and establishing this forms a key part of our investigation. Enquiries into the full circumstances remain ongoing and officers will look at all available evidence including any CCTV opportunities.”

The statement said no threat of violence was made and added: “Anyone with information should contact police directly if they have not already been spoken to. No arrests have been made at this time.”

Sterling is the latest high-profile footballer targeted and Telegraph Sport knows of at least four of his club and international team-mates who have been burgled over the past year or so.

For privacy and security reasons, Telegraph Sport has decided not to publish the identities of players who have been victims of incidents that have not already been reported on.

Concerns lead to installation of panic rooms

Players have become so concerned by the issue that they have installed high-security panic rooms inside their houses in case they and their families are at home if intruders break in. The rooms have a special panic button that raises every alarm in the home.

England players have reported incidents of being followed from their club training grounds over recent months, with cars tailed and players having to re-route and be directed to safe places by the in-house security teams at clubs.

The concerns and paranoia of players are such that builders and workmen are being asked to sign non-disclosure agreements to prevent them from telling friends or colleagues that they are working at the properties of footballers, while deliveries are redirected to friends or family for collection to keep addresses private.

Some players have even decided to move out of their homes and into more populated luxury apartment blocks, which they feel offers them a greater level of safety and makes it harder for intruders to try to break in unnoticed.

Sterling is not the first Chelsea player to be targeted, as Reece James last year had his Champions League and Euro 2020 medals stolen while he was playing for the club in Europe.

James shared footage of the attack from CCTV cameras on social media and a man was arrested in April in connection with the robbery.

Striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang suffered a broken jaw when he was attacked with an iron bar during a terrifying attack on his family home in Barcelona shortly before he moved to Chelsea in the summer.

Manchester City defender Joao Cancelo was the victim of what he described as being a “horrific” robbery last December in which his “whole family” was involved, when he was assaulted and jewellery was taken.

Arsenal defender Gabriel and former Gunners players Mesut Özil and Sead Kolasinac have all been the targets of attempted robberies.


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