Police are investigating an aggravated burglary which took place at the home of Olympic cyclist Mark Cavendish.
Officers were called at 2.35am on Saturday November 27 after four armed men entered the home,in the Ongar area.
The group assaulted Mr Cavendish, who was already suffering with significant injuries having just returned from a period in intensive care following a major crash whilst racing, and threatened his wife.
The couple’s children were also in the house at the time and witnessed the events.
None of the family sustained serious injuries but were understandably left incredibly shaken by the incident.
The gang stole a Luis Vuitton suitcase and two high-value watches.
Detective Inspector Tony Atkin, who is the senior investigating officer on the case, said: “This was undoubtedly a targeted incident at the home of a celebrated British Olympian, who at the time was recovering from significant injuries resulting from a crash whilst competing. Our investigation is moving along at pace and we are following a number of lines of inquiry as we seek to catch those responsible.
“Mr Cavendish and his wife were assaulted and threatened in their own home, in the presence of their young children. Thankfully, they are recovering, but the traumatic effect will be long standing.
“Today, we are releasing images of the people captured on CCTV fleeing the scene and we would urge anyone who recognises them to get in contact with us immediately.
“We are also releasing images of the suitcase and two watches which were stolen during the incident.
“It is likely the people who stole these items are attempting to offload them for sizeable sums of money and I would urge anyone who is being offered these items to please get in touch with us – they are stolen property.
“If you have been offered these items, please contact us immediately.”
In a statement, Mr Cavendish said: “As I’m sure you will understand, this incident has left our family extremely distressed – not just myself and Peta but our children as well, who feared for their lives and are now struggling with the after-effects.
“No one should have to experience the sort of violence and threats made against us, let alone this happening in a family home – a place where everyone should feel safe.
“The items taken are simply material goods and our priority at the moment is to make sure we all recover from the incident as a family, and we know this is likely to take some time.
“We would like to place on record our thanks to Essex Police for a really quick response and the professionalism and the focus they are clearly putting into the investigation.”
Anyone who was in the Ongar area between 2 – 2.40am on November 27 and saw anybody acting suspiciously, or has any information that could help with the investigation, is asked to contact Loughton CID quoting reference 42/275184/21.
You can submit a report online at https://www.essex.police.uk or use the ‘Live Chat’ button to speak to an online operator between 7am-11pm.
Alternatively, you can call 101.
Information can also be given to independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or https://crimestoppers-uk.org