Thieves steal £65k of wine from billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s luxury hotel

Thieves have stolen dozens of 'high value' wines from the cellars at southern England’s Lime Wood hotel, which is owned by British billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe.

Thieves used the cover of darkness to break into Lime Wood hotel’s award-winning wine cellar, beginning the burglary at 3:38am on Monday 11 November.

‘Approximately 80 bottles have been taken with a value of around £65,000,’ said a spokesperson for the luxury hotel, which is based in the New Forest in southern England and is owned by British billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe.

Lime Wood’s lengthy wine list includes some of the world’s most famous names, from Romanée-Conti to Screaming Eagle, but the hotel did not specify any particular bottles or vintages taken in Monday’s burglary.

A spokesperson described the stolen bottles as ‘high value’ wines and said that a police investigation was underway.

Police have warned people to watch out for fine wines being offered at ‘bargain’ prices.

The hotel is part of the Lime Wood Group and Home Grown Hotels.

Sir Jim Ratcliffe, who co-founded chemicals group Ineos, topped the Sunday Times newspaper’s annual ‘rich list’ in 2018. He was ranked third in 2019, with an estimated fortune of £18.15bn.

While the motives and circumstances around the Lime Wood burglary remained under investigation, it is the latest of several high-profile cellar heists over the past few years.

In one of the most recent examples, at the end of June 2019, ‘irreplaceable’ vintages of Romanée-Conti were among an estimated €400,000-worth of fine wines stolen from Michelin-starred Maison Rostang in Paris.

Some people in the wine trade have previously suggested that skyrocketing prices for the world’s finest wines have contributed to a trend for highly prized bottles being targeted by thieves.