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The haul, which included historic and family items, is estimated to be worth over €150,000, but the victim described the items as irreplaceable.

Lord Henry was at his home, Beauparc House, beside the castle, when the raiders broke in, but heard nothing.

Among the items taken from the main house were a double-hinged 18 carat gold rectangular vesta holder, marked 1855; a rectangular gold snuff box dated 1762; an 18 carat two-coloured gold snuff box, dated 1831; a George IV 18 carat gold ring; a rectangular engraved silver box, dated 1850; a silver and enamel garter badge; and an 18-carat ladies’ gold key-wound pocket watch, dated 1850.

“It’s very distressing,” said Lord Henry. “These items have been in my family for generations and had survived the fire at Slane Castle in 1991.”

He cited as irreplaceable the missing vesta holder, which has an inscription that it was given by Emperor Napoleon 111 to Earl Mountcharles in 1855, while one of the gold snuff boxes had been a present from George IV to a Mountcharles who was a page boy at his coronation in 1831.

An 18 carat gold child’s rattle had been a present from George IV to another ancestor, a Viscount Slane, on his birth in 1825.

Irish police have advised dealers that attempts may be made to offload some of the stolen items, and have sought their co-operation.

• The Victoria and Albert Museum has launched a security review following the theft of nine jades from its collection.

As widely reported in the national press, on the afternoon of Monday October 4, thieves smashed a display cabinet in the Ceramics gallery making off with nine jades valued at around £60,000.

The items stolen were three small cups, two miniature animal figures, a bowl, two small ornamental plaques and a small ritual cylinder – all of a dark green-brown colour. The cylinder c.1000BC is the most highly prized object and valued at £20,000.

Mark Jones, the director of the V&A, said: “This appears to have been a well organised theft and the intention may be to sell these objects quickly. We appeal to anyone who suspects that they are being offered these stolen objects to report this to the police immediately.”

• Two 18th century French tapestries have been stolen from a house in Bournemouth. One depicts a pheasant surrounded by flowers and trees, the second exotic birds in a landscape.

• Police think a wheelbarrow may have been used to remove a 19th century or earlier sundial worth about £10,000 from a stately home in Kent. The marble sundial was taken from gardens at Penshurst Place sometime in late September. Staff discovered it was missing at 2pm on Sunday September 26.