Police are investigating whether renovation work taking place at the rear of the Ritz Hotel in Paris contributed to a lack of security when it was raided by thieves. Five men broke a window at the tradesman’s entrance to the famed hotel just after 6.30pm (5.30pm UK time) on Wednesday evening. Three of the thieves went into the hotel armed with hatchets. Inside, they smashed glass display cases and removed items worth “several million euros”1, throwing some of their loot from the window to two accomplices outside. Police have now recovered some of the jewels after they were scattered about during the arrest of the three suspects, while more jewels and watches were found in a bag dropped by one of the two robbers who got away. One report suggests that one of the three arrested was dressed as a builder. Witnesses at the hotel’s Hemmingway Bar saw the robbery unfold.
A witness told Sky News they heard “at least 10 rounds of gunfire”. Nik said: “My parents and I were sitting at the Hemingway Bar at the Ritz for a drink and we were about to leave when we heard shouting from the bartenders to get down. “One man wearing a ski mask ran right from the bar door to the front, right past my father.
“He had an axe in his hand . Immediately the bartender closed and locked the door and corralled everyone to the back kitchen area of the bar. “We heard at least 10 rounds of gunfire so everyone dove behind the bar where we stayed there for about six minutes.”
Police union spokesman Jean-Michel Huguet would not confirm the use of guns by police or the thieves, but did confirm that the three men who entered the hotel were tasered and detained.
“Our colleagues are aware of the need for frequent routine patrols in these areas to watch and protect these luxury shops in the Ritz,” he said. “They were close by and received a call that the villains had entered and were committing an armed robbery in the Ritz . So my colleagues intervened, neutralised and arrested the individuals who had smashed the presentation cases with all the jewels.”
The two accomplices escaped, one in a car, the other on a motorcycle. A pedestrian was hit by the bike and lightly injured . The thief riding the bike dropped his loot and his weapons. The award-winning French writer Frederic Beigbeder was also in the Hemingway Bar and said the place was very calm, according to French newspaper Le Figaro. He is believed to have hidden in the basement. It is understood that the police know the identity of the men, who are believed to be from the Paris area. Place Vendome, where the Ritz is based, is also home to the Ministry of Justice.
Security in the area was increased in 2014 after several luxury jewellers were raided in violent robberies.
Image: The robbery happened at the Ritz Hotel in Paris . File pic
The Ritz has played host to scores of famous people since it opened in 1898. Coco Chanel lived there for more than 30 years while Marcel Proust, F Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway and King Edward VII were regulars. The Luftwaffe set up their regional headquarters at the Ritz during the Second World War. Mohammed al Fayed bought the hotel in 1979 and carried out major renovations to bring it back to its original popularity.
Princess Diana famously dined at the hotel with Dodi al Fayed before they both died in a car accident in the Pont de l’Alma underpass.
On Tuesday 9 January 2018 at Workington Magistrates Court, we successfully defended an appeal against the suspension of a licence from a security guard charged with indecent exposure.
The licence holder, who cannot be named because the case is still to be heard at the Carlisle Crown Court, was suspended in November 2017 having been charged for indecent exposure. He allegedly exposed himself to a group of children (aged 1, 4 and 8) at a public swimming pool. The police informed us of the security guard s alleged behaviour, following which his SIA licence was suspended. The suspension will be reviewed following the outcome at the Crown Court. Neil Diamond our legal advisor, told the Court that:
As a regulator, we place paramount importance on public safety.
We were given a legal power to temporarily suspend licences for precisely these types of circumstances. It would present an unacceptable level of risk for someone awaiting trial for such a serious offence to continue in a position of trust and responsibility in the interim.
Dismissing the security guard s appeal, the magistrates found that we had acted in accordance with its own guidelines, and that the decision to suspend was appropriate. The magistrates further found that there could be a threat to public safety if the licence did not remain suspended, and were satisfied that suspension was in the public interest. The security guard was ordered to make a contribution to the SIA s legal costs of 200. Lisa Targowska, our Deputy Director of Legal, said:
We will always rigorously defend appeals of this nature, particularly where there is any potential risk to the public.
Security operatives are in a position of trust, and so we will not hesitate to use our powers of suspension where it is in the public interest to do so.
- The Security Industry Authority is the organisation responsible for regulating the private security industry in the United Kingdom, reporting to the Home Secretary under the terms of the Private Security Industry Act 2001.
The SIA’s main duties are: the compulsory licensing of individuals undertaking designated activities; and managing the voluntary Approved Contractor Scheme.
- For further information about the Security Industry Authority or to sign up for email updates visit www.sia.homeoffice.gov.uk.
CAIRO (Reuters) – Egypt hanged 15 men convicted of attacks that killed security forces in the Sinai Peninsula, security sources said on Tuesday, in what appears to be the largest number of executions on a single day since President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi took office in 2014. The hangings took place at two prisons in the north of the country early on Tuesday, the sources said. A military court issued the sentences and interior ministry officials carried out the executions simultaneously at Borj al-Arab and Wadi al-Natroun prisons, the sources said. Most of the militants were from Sinai region and were accused of joining militant groups and taking part in carrying out, planning and assisting in killing a number of army and police personnel in Sinai, the sources said. Islamic State s Sinai branch has waged attacks against security forces in a years-long insurgency in North Sinai, and in the past year expanded targets to include Christians and other civilians. An attack on a mosque last month which killed more than 300 people, the deadliest in Egypt s modern history, was widely attributed to Islamic State, but the group did not claim responsibility for it. In 2015, six people were executed for killing two soldiers during a raid in Qalyubiah province, north of Cairo.
Reporting by Ahmed Mohamed Hassan and Ali Abdelaty; Editing by Peter Graff