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Reality TV star posed as lettings agent to carry out string of burglaries

Barney Davis
Ben Papantoniou, 34, was jailed for 30 months after being found guilty of burglaries

A former reality TV star broke into a £5 million home to steal cash and valuables after posing as a lettings agent.

Ben Papantoniou, 34, was jailed for 30 months after being found guilty of burglaries carried out in Hampstead, Kensington and Knightsbridge this year.

In 2010, he starred as a lothario lettings agent in Channel 4 reality show Seven Days, which was based in Notting Hill, where he lived.

Social media posts show him and his wife in Marbella for Christmas 2014 and on beach holidays.

The scam saw Papantoniou target homes advertised with multiple agents. First, he pretended to be a businessman looking for a property to rent.

Papantoniou carried out burglaries in Hampstead, Kensington and Knightsbridge

In reality, he was trying to find out when tenants were out. Then, posing as a lettings agent, he would tell agents including Kinleigh Folkard & Hayward, Foxtons and Chestertons that he needed the keys to view a property with clients.

Papantoniou stole over £3,000 in total in pounds, euros, US dollars and Hong Kong dollars, and took items including a gold coin and shoes.

In emails seen by the Standard, the conman posed as businessman “Max Clifford”.

CCTV footage shows him breaking into a property in Belsize Park

He asked one agent: “How much notice is needed for viewings if the tenants are in?” After signing off as “Ben”, he said it was a typo.

CCTV footage from his first burglary on June 9, shows him let himself into a property in Belsize Park.

He leaves within an hour with a handbag said to contain £150 and 500kr. The landlord said: “The tenant thought there was a viewing and hid her £200,000 jewels in the safe.

Otherwise he could’ve had them too. I recognised the crook straight away [on the CCTV footage] from that awful TV show.”

Papantoniou struck in Knightsbridge on June 28, and in Kensington in July. On August 16 the owner of a home in West Hampstead returned while he was inside.

Papantoniou starred as a lothario lettings agent in Channel 4 reality show Seven Days in 2010

He pretended to be waiting for clients, apologised and escaped with a watch and a ring worth £8,000. He was then arrested.

Papantoniou pleaded guilty to five charges of fraud, four of burglary and one of theft at Blackfriars crown court and was jailed on September 21.

A spokesman for Foxtons said the tenants had been compensated, adding: “We’ve reviewed our security procedures as a result of this isolated incident”.

Kinleigh Folkard & Hayward said “procedures have been reinforced” and Chestertons urged all agents, landlords and tenants to “remain vigilant”.