Burglar Breaks Into Prince Charles' Palace Apartment Ed: LEADS throughout to UPDATE with heirlooms taken, security details. No pickup

LONDON (AP) _ A burglar got into Prince Charles' apartment at St. James's Palace and stole cuff links, tie pins and other personal items while the prince was on vacation, a spokeswoman said Friday.

A member of the prince's staff discovered the break-in Friday morning.

Items of ''great personal, great sentimental value''were taken, including heirloom, a spokesman for the prince said, speaking on condition of anonymity. Scotland Yard police said they believed the burglar could have gained entrance by using scaffolding covering the front of the palace, a Tudor building less than a quarter mile from Buckingham Palace.

Prince Charles, heir to the British throne, moved into the apartment after separating from his wife, Diana, more than a year ago. She remains at Kensington Palace in southwest London.

Charles was in Klosters, Switzerland, on a skiing vacation Friday and the apartment was unoccupied. Police would not discuss the precise timing of the break-in.

A spokeswoman at Buckingham Palace, also speaking anonymously, said other members of the family have apartments in St. James's Palace, but as far as she was aware the prince was the only one from whom property was stolen.

Many servicemen and police officers guard the palace and all visitors are checked for identification by a uniformed police officer on entry.

On Friday, two soldiers wearing camouflage combat gear and carrying assault rifles patrolled the streets surrounding the palace.

There have been a number of intruders at Buckingham Palace. In the most serious incident, Michael Fagan triggered royal security alarms in 1982 when he twice slipped into the palace, on the second occasion spending 10 minutes sitting on Queen Elizabeth II's bed holding a broken ashtray in his bleeding hand and chatting with her.

Most recently, American paraglider pilot James Miller landed his aircraft on the roof of Buckingham Palace on Feb. 5, and stripped off his clothes before he was arrested.