SPECULATION over whether newlyweds William and Kate are moving to Herefordshire continued to be rife this week following the sighting of a police escort at a £5 million mansion currently for sale near Leominster.

The Hereford Times carried the picture in its current edition.

It was captured by an anonymous reader leaving plush Pudleston Court, last Thursday. West Mercia Police has since moved to quash the rumours, after initially being unable to confirm where the officers were from.

A spokesman last night,(Thursday), issued a short statement:"I can confirm that the police presence at Pudleston Court on Thursday July 21 were West Mercia Police officers. They were conducting a close protection training exercise. I cannot comment further on the details of the exercise."

The police motorbikes hint at the future possibility of royal guests, or inhabitants, as few other figures would require such tight security on a trip to one of the safest places in the country.

Pudleston Court, around six miles from Leominster, is no stranger to celebrities and was recently believed to have attracted the interest of business tycoon Lord Sugar.

The sighting of police escorting a convoy of cars from one of the county’s most desirable homes will fuel rumours the royal couple want to live in the county after Prince William finishes his RAF stint in Anglesey.

Meanwhile, Dutch television channel Shownieuws has now picked up the story and spoken to one of our reporters - the interest sparked by both speculation over a royal connection and the fact that the house's former owner was renowned Dutch entrepreneur Dr Albert Heijn (see link below).

In January, the Duchy of Cornwall’s Harewood End estate near Ross-on-Wye was mentioned by national newspapers as a possible future home for the UK’s future King and Queen to live.

Following the new Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s tour of Canada and the United States earlier this month, it was reported that the pair would be going “under the radar” to concentrate on the duke’s RAF career.

It was also reported they would take a break from royal duties for the rest of the summer.

The duchess, it is believed, will spend the next few months planning which good causes and charities she hopes to get involved with.

Pudleston Court was put on the market following the death of Dr Heijn.

Dr Heijn helped introduce the barcode and established a successful supermarket chain in his native Holland before he moved to Pudleston and built the Left Bank Village in Hereford.

Tony Morris-Eyton, from estate agent Savills, said he could not comment on interested parties but did say the property is still on the market and was attracting strong interest from around the country.

Clarence House said it could not comment on whether the royal couple were in Herefordshire.