Real Madrid football star Gareth Bale has had extra police protection after his fiancee’s family were targeted by arson attacks in Wales. Bale, 27, is due to marry longtime girlfriend Emma Rhys-Jones soon. Cars belonging to her grandparents and aunt were set alight and petrol was poured through another aunt’s home in Flint, north Wales, according to the Daily Mail.
The newspaper claimed the attacks were “part of a feud with a drugs gang” after Rhys-Jones’ cousin, former model Epiphany Dring, disappeared, allegedly carrying a suitcase full of £300,000 ($NZ536,000) in cash, plus drugs and watches believed to make the full contents worth around £1 million ($NZ1.8m). Armed police were stationed outside Bale’s hotel room in Gran Canaria, Spain where Real Madrid were set to play an away game in La Liga.
The Sun newspaper reported a source saying: “There were three armed police posted outside the rooms, obviously there to make sure there were no unwanted visitors. It was pretty extreme for such a luxury hotel, renowned for its old-fashioned charm.”
Bale and Rhys-Jones have a luxury £2m (NZ$3.6m) home in the Vale of Glamorgan and UK media reported she was “scared stiff” it could be targeted in a future attack. North Wales police have charged a 22-year-old man with criminal damage. A 54-year-old woman has been arrested on suspicion of making threats to kill. A family source told The Sun they fear the attacks won’t stop because of the missing money.
The source said: ‘People are wondering if they will target Gareth and Emma because they have money. No one knows where it will end.”
Dring is understood to have left Britain.
Rhys-Jones’ father, Martin, 52, is in jail in the United States after admitting a £2m (NZ$3.6m) fraud scheme, the Daily Mail reported.