Richard Hammond has been targeted by burglars who broke into his sprawling country castle in a “James Bond-style” midnight raid, it has been claimed.
Police were called to the former Top Gear star’s 20-acre estate in near Ross-on-Wye in Herefordshire by neighbours, the Sunday Mirror reported.
The property, which Hammond purchased for £2 million in 2008, is said to be “as secure as Fort Knox” prompting one local to suggest burglars could only access it via helicopter.
It boasts ten foot iron gates, a high-tech security system and a protective fort.
Hammond, 48, who lives there with his wife, Mindy, 47, and two teenage daughters, has been recovering at the castle since his latest near-death crash in Switzerland last June.
It is not clear whether the family was home at the time of the alleged break-in.
Credit: Ian West/PA Wire
One neighbour said: “If he was burgled they must have used a helicopter to get in and out – as he does.
“It would have to be a James Bond-style break-in as the place is not easy to get into.”
“It must have really rattled him and his family – you can only imagine what was going through their minds when they found out.”
The castle boasts a Grade I listed stable block, a six-bedroomed Grade II listed main house, a swimming pool and a lake.
It also has extensive garages used to home Hammond’s classic car collection.
Visitors can enter by the castle gate, with battlemented and turreted walls.
Credit: Freuds via AP
The sham castle was added to the property in the 18th century but was intended to
In 2014, the broadcaster reportedly purchased the six-bedroom house next-door for £1.2million to end a “neighbourly dispute”.
Hammond said in 2011: “If ever I need a quiet moment then, in my mind, I’ve got the perfect home and the perfect county to find it in.”
West Mercia Police said this weekend: “We received reports that a burglary may have been in progress and officers attended. An investigation is ongoing.”
Hammond later insisted that no one had broken in and nothing had been taken.
Reports recently suggested that Hammond’s Grand Tour series, in which he stars alongside Jeremy Clarkson and James May, was due to be axed by Amazon.
The third series is due to air later this year.