Wealthy British socialite Petra Ecclestone has fallen victim to a jewel thief who allegedly posed as a prospective buyer and raided her London home during a property viewing.

Almost $750,000 (£500,000) worth of precious jewellery was taken from Ecclestone's mansion, which has been put on the market for around $48 million (£32 million).

Ecclestone was not at home at the time of the viewing last month (Jun13) and was later shocked to discover a valuable pair of diamond earrings and a diamond Rolex watch had gone missing.

A source tells Dailymail.co.uk, "Petra was out with her sister Tamara a few weeks ago when the viewing took place. As soon as this man left, it was discovered that the jewellery, which was on a bedroom nightstand, was missing."

A spokeswoman for Ecclestone adds, "The theft occurred at the London house during a property viewing. The family were not home at the time. No further comment will be made."