Jewels worth up to £100 million were brazenly stolen by an armed masked man on Sunday from an exclusive hotel in Cannes on the French Riviera, a favourite haunt of the rich and famous.

The heist at the Carlton Hotel came after a member of the infamous Pink Panther Gang escaped from a Swiss prison last Thursday.

The gang are renowned gem thieves, and police have admitted they suspect the Carlton robbery to be a professional job. If the £100m estimate is accurate, this could well rank as one of the world's biggest thefts.

The Huffington Post UK has been digging around to find evidence of some of the most audacious heists in history and unearthed these five gems.

Inspector Clouseau was nowhere to be found..


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  • 5) Damiani Showroom - Milan - 2008 - £13 Million

    Where: Damiani showroom, Milan, Italy When: 03/02/2008 Value: £13 million Perpetrators: Unknown What happened: The Damiani building was equipped with an armed guard patrolling the front door, and a high tech alarm system. Unperturbed, the thieves drilled a hole through the 4 foot thick wall separating the showroom from next door’s basement. Dressed in police uniforms, they walked in, tied up staff at gunpoint and within half an hour had escaped out of their hole with diamonds, rubies and gold. Scarily: Thieves picked the perfect time to execute the raid, all the diamonds were on show for a private viewing but there were no visitors in the show room. You probably didn't know: Well not quite perfect timing, it was right in the middle of the Oscars when they were completing the robbery. With many celebrities wearing the diamonds, their haul could have been much bigger.

  • 4) Brinks MAT - London - 1983 - £25 Million

    Where: Warehouse at Heathrow Airport When: 26/11/1983 Value: £25.5million worth of gold and diamonds Perpetrators (Sentence): Micky McAvoy (25 years), Brian Robinson (25 years), Kenneth Noye (14 years) What happened: One of the robbers was a guard at the warehouse, giving inside information. The criminals handcuffed the guards before forcing them to tell them the security codes. They could then use the warehouse’s own forklift truck to move the 76 boxes of gold and diamonds. Scarily: Only 3 of the estimated 15 robbers were ever caught, and much of the gold was never recovered, having mixed with other metals to make it untraceable. You probably didn't know: The men expected to find cash rather than gold in the warehouse, so planned the robbery to only take 5 minutes. When they discovered the much heavier gold bullions, the heist took all of 2 hours!

  • 3) Antwerp Diamond Centre - Antwerp - 2003 - £65 Million

    Where: Antwerp Diamond Centre When: 16/02/2003 Value: £65 million Perpetrators: 5 man team led by Leonardo Notarbartolo (only sentenced to 10 years due to lack of evidence) What happened: The robbers rented a room in the building above for two years, to gain time analyzing the alarm system. They also managed to make copies of the keys to the vault and insert fake videos into the security cameras. Having stolen the contents of 123 safety deposit boxes, they found so many diamonds that they had to leave 37 vaults unopened. Scarily: The loot was never recovered, when Italian police found evidence it mysteriously disappeared from another “secure location”.

  • 2) Graff Diamonds - London - 2009 - £42 Million

    Where: Graff Diamonds, London, England When: 06/08/2009 Value: £42 million Perpetrators (Sentence): 10 men were behind the operation, but Craig Calderwood (21 years) and Aman Kassaye (23 years) actually carried out the plan. What happened: Kassaye and Calderwood hired a professional makeup artist to edit the appearance of their faces through prosthetics and skin tone. They then walked into the shop, and forced employees to open jewelry cases with handguns. When changing cars on their getaway, one of the criminals left a mobile phone behind, meaning that police could trace and eventually arrest both men. You probably didn't know: The criminals could have been caught much faster through finger print recognition, had it not been for the eccentric behavior of Graff clients. This meant the robbers were permitted entry despite wearing leather loves.

  • 1) Harry Winston Store - Paris - 2008 - £70 Million

    Where: Harry Winston Store, Paris, France When: 04/10/2008 Value: £70 million Perpetrators: 4 unknown men What happened: 4 men, 3 disguised as women, walked into the Harry Winston jewelry store, with a hand grenade and .357 Magnum. They knew which cases to smash open and ordered the staff about by their first names, suggesting an inside job. However, within 15 minutes, the men had escaped, and were never found. You probably did't know: The Harry Winston Jewelry Store is on the same road as a police station!