Superstar Madonna's plans to move into a luxury London pad have been thwarted by a rich neighbour, who paid $5.4 million (GBP3 million) for the property to prevent the singer from living there.

LORD SAINSBURY - a Labour minister and great-grandson of the founder of British supermarket chain SAINSBURY'S - was aghast when he heard the LIKE A VIRGIN singer hoped to buy the house next door.

And so the multi-millionaire, 63, splashed out the huge sum to ensure his privacy.

An insider says, "When Lord and LADY SAINSBURY heard Madonna was interested in the house, they were terrified.

"They had visions of being besieged night and day. Lady Sainsbury in particular was very concerned about the impact of the paparazzi hanging around the street outside.

"They place a very high value on their privacy and were obviously prepared to pay a high price to maintain it."

19/01/2004 14:28