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How Romany gypsy Alfie Best became one of the richest people in Britain

Lianna Brinded
Head of Yahoo Finance UK
Silhouette of business man drinking whiskey, enjoying taste of aged beverage. Photo: Getty

The Romany gypsy caravan park owner Alfie Best is the 450th richest person in Britain, according to the Sunday Times Rich List.

Every year, the Sunday Times calculates who are the richest people in Britain and release dozens of lists, according to identifiable wealth including land, property, other assets such as art, and shares in companies. The calculations do not include the amount contained in people's bank accounts.

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The Sunday Times calculated that Best increased his fortune by another £35m over the last year, amassing a fortune of £285m. To put this into perspective, the Queen is worth £370m and is 356th on the list.

Best, 49, has a unique background far from typical in a rich list dominated by property and industry magnatesroyals and aristocratsmusiciansfilm stars and sportspeople.

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In an interview with the Sunday Times as part of its annual Rich List release, Best revealed that was he born by the roadside in Leicester, and left school at 12.

However, he has made a fortune through owning more than 80 holiday and caravan parks via his Essex-based Wyldecrest Parks operation.

He owns a £3.6m seven-seater VIP Airbus EC130 helicopter and a £1.2m limited-edition six-wheel Mercedes G-Wagon pick-up truck. He also has a £2.7m Bugatti Chiron, £2m Bugatti Veyron and £350,000 Rolls-Royce Dawn, and has a huge range of properties in London, Surrey, and abroad.

The 11 villas he owns in Barbados also brings in a sizeable rental income.

Best made his millions by running caravan and mobile home parks, with 13,000 people to moving into his parks.

The parent company Best owns, which includes the Wyldecrest Parks brand, is now Europe’s largest residential mobile home park operator, says the Sunday Times.

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“Who better to buy a mobile home or a caravan from than a gypsy?” said Best in the interview with the newspaper. He also attributes his ability to be a great salesman to his gypsy upbringing.

“Why do gypsies talk so fast? Well, how would you talk if somebody was slamming the door in your face! I had 30 seconds. That taught me a lot about being a good salesman,” he added.

“Think about it this way. You’ve been born in a caravan and your mum and dad live in a mobile home. Then you have the opportunity to buy an estate of mobile homes. I bought it for £1.7m, and my whole extended family sold their mobile homes and moved in.”

That decision led to the birth of Wyldecrest Parks. Best Holdings currently has net assets of £143.5m — a rise of more than £100m on the previous year, according to the Sunday Times.

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