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Travelling In France - Warning


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Hi

found this in my local paper, people travelling in France and overnighting in the motorway laybys should be careful !!

 

http://www. swindonadvertiser. co. uk/news/sw. .._and_robbed. php

 

I can't believe that people are still prepared to take a chance by parking up overnight in anything other than an official campsite. What were they thinking?

 

Yossa

2007 Mondeo 2. 2 TDCi & 2003 Bailey Pageant Bordeaux

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The following appeared on Motorhome Facts

It's a response to a letter from Mr. Brian Kirby of O&A forums addressed to the Royal College of Anaethetists.

 

"Since this debate rattles on from time to time, with much deliberation over how and what, I thought I'd try to get an expert view on the feasibility of using narcotic gases to knock out the occupants of motorhomes/caravans.

 

Since they do this all the time, so to speak, I thought I'd ask the Royal College of Anaesthetists. Somewhat to my surprise, they provided the following reply. Interesting isn't it? Sleep tight folks!

 

Dear Mr Kirby,

 

Thank you for your enquiry. I would like to inform you that you are not the first enquirer with this question. Professor Hatch, our Clinical Advisor, has given the following previous comments:

 

"I can give you a categorical assurance that it would not be possible to render someone unconscious with ether without their knowledge, even if they were sleeping at the time. Ether is an extremely pungent agent and a relatively weak anaesthetic by modern standards and has a very irritant affect of the air passages, causing coughing and sometimes vomiting. It takes some time to reach unconsciousness, even if given by direct application to the face on a rag, and the concentration needed by some sort of spray into a room would be enormous. The smell hangs around for days and would be obvious to anyone the next day.

 

There are much more powerful agents around now, some of which are almost odourless. However, these would be unlikely to be able to achieve the effect you describe, and the cost would be huge enough to deter any thief unless he was after the crown jewels. The only practicable agent is probably the one used by the Russians in the Moscow siege - I advised the BBC on their programme about this. The general feeling is that they used an agent which is not available outside the KGB!

 

Finally, unsupervised anaesthesia, which is what we are really talking about is very dangerous. In the Moscow siege about 20% of victims died from asphyxia, because their airways were unprotected. If the reports you talk about are true I would have expected a significant number of deaths or cases of serious brain damage to have been reported."

 

I hope this information is helpful to you.

 

Regards,

 

Ms Shirani Nadarajah

General Administrator

 

Professional Standards Directorate

The Royal College of Anaesthetists""

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The following appeared on Motorhome Facts

It's a response to a letter from Mr. Brian Kirby of O&A forums addressed to the Royal College of Anaesthetists.

 

"Since this debate rattles on from time to time, with much deliberation over how and what, I thought I'd try to get an expert view on the feasibility of using narcotic gases to knock out the occupants of motorhomes/caravans.

 

Since they do this all the time, so to speak, I thought I'd ask the Royal College of Anaesthetists. Somewhat to my surprise, they provided the following reply. Interesting isn't it? Sleep tight folks!

 

Dear Mr Kirby,

 

Thank you for your enquiry. I would like to inform you that you are not the first enquirer with this question. Professor Hatch, our Clinical Advisor, has given the following previous comments:

 

"I can give you a categorical assurance that it would not be possible to render someone unconscious with ether without their knowledge, even if they were sleeping at the time. Ether is an extremely pungent agent and a relatively weak anaesthetic by modern standards and has a very irritant affect of the air passages, causing coughing and sometimes vomiting. It takes some time to reach unconsciousness, even if given by direct application to the face on a rag, and the concentration needed by some sort of spray into a room would be enormous. The smell hangs around for days and would be obvious to anyone the next day.

 

There are much more powerful agents around now, some of which are almost odourless. However, these would be unlikely to be able to achieve the effect you describe, and the cost would be huge enough to deter any thief unless he was after the crown jewels. The only practicable agent is probably the one used by the Russians in the Moscow siege - I advised the BBC on their programme about this. The general feeling is that they used an agent which is not available outside the KGB!

 

Finally, unsupervised anaesthesia, which is what we are really talking about is very dangerous. In the Moscow siege about 20% of victims died from asphyxia, because their airways were unprotected. If the reports you talk about are true I would have expected a significant number of deaths or cases of serious brain damage to have been reported."

 

I hope this information is helpful to you.

 

Regards,

 

Ms Shirani Nadarajah

General Administrator

 

Professional Standards Directorate

The Royal College of Anaesthetists""

 

 

Perhaps this will now put this old chestnut to bed once and for all.

 

If this professional says its rubbish, that's good enough for me.

 

 

Steve W.

2015 SorentoKX2 pulling a 2011 Sterling Eccles Moonstone

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Guest macSpot

There is a similar article to Vernon's in Practical Caravan (October) page 21.

 

A lot of the articles about gas attacks written in the papers are nothing better than rumour and scare mongering, but having said that I'm at a loss as to why anyone wants to take the risk and stop overnight in an aire.

 

There are so many sites in France, and in the case of the municipals, they are so reasonably priced, why take the risk? I just don't get it.

 

MacSpot

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There is a similar article to Vernon's in Practical Caravan (October) page 21.

 

A lot of the articles about gas attacks written in the papers are nothing better than rumour and scare mongering, but having said that I'm at a loss as to why anyone wants to take the risk and stop overnight in an aire.

 

There are so many sites in France, and in the case of the municipals, they are so reasonably priced, why take the risk? I just don't get it.

 

MacSpot

 

What makes you think you are safer at a campsite, rather than an Aire where people and traffic are constantly on the move. If indeed these people can break into a caravan or motor home without the occupants or anyone in other vans in the area hearing them,then why would anyone hear them in a proper campsite. I do not see any logic in this assumption.

 

Steve W

2015 SorentoKX2 pulling a 2011 Sterling Eccles Moonstone

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Guest macSpot
What makes you think you are safer at a campsite, rather than an Aire where people and traffic are constantly on the move. If indeed these people can break into a caravan or motor home without the occupants or anyone in other vans in the area hearing them, then why would anyone hear them in a proper campsite. I do not see any logic in this assumption.

 

Steve W

 

I take your point, if anyone really wants to rob you they will do it no matter where you are. But all the reported instances of alleged 'gas attacks' are at aires. So whether its true or not, why take the risk?

 

MacSpot

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I take your point, if anyone really wants to rob you they will do it no matter where you are. But all the reported instances of alleged 'gas attacks' are at aires. So whether its true or not, why take the risk?

 

MacSpot

 

 

I agree, I have never slept at an Aire and probably never will, but I think that by continuing to give credence to this urban myth, a lot of people who need to watch the pennies will be put off of going on the continent and consequently miss out on a great way of having a cheap holiday.

 

Steve W

2015 SorentoKX2 pulling a 2011 Sterling Eccles Moonstone

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Hi

 

I'm not suggesting that caravans are exempt by any means but most stories seem to relate to Motorhomers.

 

Perhaps large expensive Motorhomes suggest rich pickings to thieves, as well as many occupants being a little too old to chase them very fast.

 

Maybe large expensive caravans are an attraction too>

 

Lunar

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If this is an "urban myth" why does it seem that apparently genuine people are prepared to go to the press, & by all reports the police, to report such incidents?

 

If they were anonymous reports of such incidents, then OK, but the reality is that people are named, pictured, and describe similar occurences from across several regions in france, the common theme being they overnighted at aires, woke the next day (usually in a poor state) to find property missing.

 

And while the RCoA concentrates solely on licensed anaesthtic agents, there are other substances that may cause drowsiness (or a deeper sleep) that are not anaesthetics as such. Carbon Monoxide? Indeed one anaesthtic agent (nitrous oxide) is quite easily available, is open to abuse, and gives a hangover effect. At high concentrations it can be fatal, yes, but is used in an air mixture (entonox) with the instructions that it is self administered. When the patient starts to nod off, they drop the mask, breath air, wake up in a short while. So while Prof Hatch is looking at things from a very scientific point of view, he isn't really considering that the criminal element can be very cunning. eg heroin abusers can tolerate doses beyond therapeutic doses, and in the majority of cases don't OD that often. So to assume that the criminal fraternity couldn't wouldn't use some sort of agent is pretty naive. Besides, they are liekly to be cautious; the sentencing for theft will be considrably less than for murder, and an audacious but hardcore theif probably wouldn't want to be inn the frame for murder if they can help it.

"Scars are souvenirs you never loose"

2010 Swift Charisma Freestyle 550 + 2007 Nissan Pathfinder Aventura.

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I am not for one moment saying this couple were not robbed, but there are several inconsistencies in their story. If I understand it correctly they went to bed at 3. 00am and were surprised they did not wake up until 9. 00am!! 6 hours sleep after an exhausting journey. I expect they were so tired they fell into a deep sleep. Interesting that the police informed them they had been gassed as up to that point that had not crossed their minds. Given her medical condition you would have expected the daughter to insist on taking the the lady to the doctor! Sorry to sound so cynical but its almost as if the MO has been made up (by the police) to fit the crime rather than any proper investigation.

 

David

David - Milton Keynes

Bailey Alliance 66-2 Motorhome for holidays and a Kia Venga for home.

 

Caravan Travels

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If this is an "urban myth" why does it seem that apparently genuine people are prepared to go to the press, & by all reports the police, to report such incidents?

 

If they were anonymous reports of such incidents, then OK, but the reality is that people are named, pictured, and describe similar occurences from across several regions in france, the common theme being they overnighted at aires, woke the next day (usually in a poor state) to find property missing.

 

And while the RCoA concentrates solely on licensed anaesthtic agents, there are other substances that may cause drowsiness (or a deeper sleep) that are not anaesthetics as such. Carbon Monoxide? Indeed one anaesthtic agent (nitrous oxide) is quite easily available, is open to abuse, and gives a hangover effect. At high concentrations it can be fatal, yes, but is used in an air mixture (entonox) with the instructions that it is self administered. When the patient starts to nod off, they drop the mask, breath air, wake up in a short while. So while Prof Hatch is looking at things from a very scientific point of view, he isn't really considering that the criminal element can be very cunning. eg heroin abusers can tolerate doses beyond therapeutic doses, and in the majority of cases don't OD that often. So to assume that the criminal fraternity couldn't wouldn't use some sort of agent is pretty naive. Besides, they are liekly to be cautious; the sentencing for theft will be considrably less than for murder, and an audacious but hardcore theif probably wouldn't want to be inn the frame for murder if they can help it.

 

 

 

 

 

Just one quick question.

 

Why has no physical evidence of gassing ever been found, IE: empty gas containers or tubing, or are these thieves so different than any other form of thief. When my caravan was broken into at the storage compound they left enough evidence to sink a small ship and they broke in in daylight. Surely groping around in the dark something must have been left behind some time or another. after all literally hundreds of the cases have supposedly been reported.

 

 

 

Steve W

Edited by Steve W77

2015 SorentoKX2 pulling a 2011 Sterling Eccles Moonstone

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The "urban myth" has reached the national press :

 

http://www. telegraph. co. uk/news/main. jhtml. ..ncaravan117. xml

 

A spokeswoman for the Foreign Office said there had been a number of reports about British holidaymakers being gassed and then robbed across France in recent years, mainly when they had parked in lay-bys and rest areas.

 

She added: "There have been enough cases to warrant us mentioning it in our travel advice."

 

:blink::unsure:

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Guest Surfer

Personally I think the "gassing" is another urban myth. Also a number of inconsistencies in their story. If you have bank cards why are you carrying £1200 in cash especially in a country that deals in Euros? As for the bank card, don't they have chip and pin in France. Also a shop keeper when presented with a foreign English card on a transaction would surely get suspicious. As for a warning issued by the Foreign office, they are a joke themselves advising you it is safe in some countries when it most definitely is not. Maybe they lost the stuff and were never robbed as the door was not forced and neither did the alarms go off. You can check if your alarm was triggered at any time. It may have happened but it still sounds dodgy.

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Don't believe all the press says. <_<

Caravaners (like Cyclists wearing lycra) are easy game for the Tabloids to stir up a story about without checking any facts, and get the general public laughing about the "Problems & Dangers" we get into by following our "Silly" passtime.

Half the population would love to have us banned off the road! :angry: and by telling about the "Dangers" we face they may stop a few more taking up our passtime.

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Just one quick question.

 

Why has no physical evidence of gassing ever been found, IE: empty gas containers or tubing, or are these thieves so different than any other form of thief. When my caravan was broken into at the storage compound they left enough evidence to sink a small ship and they broke in in daylight. Surely groping around in the dark something must have been left behind some time or another. after all literally hundreds of the cases have supposedly been reported.

Steve W

 

Carbon monoxide - car exhaust - short section of pipe or hose. Not saying this is what is used, but then evidence that it has been used would be minimal. Even if nitrous oxide has been used there may be a good reason why cylinders may not be left lying around. Thye are heavy, and I'm sure walking around an aire with a gas cylinder would be suspiscious. So save the back injury, keep the cylinder in the back of the vehicle used, run the hose from vehicle to target. Nothing to be left behind.

 

And perhaps there has been evidence left behind, just because a press item doesn't report any details of an investigation, doesn't mean there hasn't been one.

 

this won't stop me 'vanning in france, I'm not so tight fisted or numb enough to stop at an aire anyway; park next to a reefer at a port and that is noise enough.

"Scars are souvenirs you never loose"

2010 Swift Charisma Freestyle 550 + 2007 Nissan Pathfinder Aventura.

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Carbon monoxide - car exhaust

 

Even if nitrous oxide has been used there may be a good reason why cylinders may not be left lying around.

 

I'm not so tight fisted or numb enough to stop at an aire anyway;

Carbon monoxide is lethal. Why have there been no deaths?

 

Nitrous Oxide requires exact amounts to work effectively or either nothing will happen of death will occur. Why has no-one awakened when too little has been applied? Why have there been no deaths?

 

Why has no Police Force, from any country stopped anyone with gassing equipment? Are they all so inept?

 

Some people like to drive until late in the evening and leave early in the morning to cover the mileage involved in their short holiday. It's not a case of being tightfisted, just practical.

Enjoy yourself, whatever you're doing

RAV4 Pegasus 534

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to be honest, whether people are gassed at aires, or not, is immaterial. what we do know is that people are robbed at aires - fact.

we all decide for ourselves whether or not we're prepared to risk it, for the sake of saving a few hours travelling or a few bob, or whatever.

we're not.

 

sue

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Carbon monoxide - car exhaust - short section of pipe or hose. Not saying this is what is used, but then evidence that it has been used would be minimal. Even if nitrous oxide has been used there may be a good reason why cylinders may not be left lying around. Thye are heavy, and I'm sure walking around an aire with a gas cylinder would be suspiscious. So save the back injury, keep the cylinder in the back of the vehicle used, run the hose from vehicle to target. Nothing to be left behind.

 

And perhaps there has been evidence left behind, just because a press item doesn't report any details of an investigation, doesn't mean there hasn't been one.

 

this won't stop me 'vanning in france, I'm not so tight fisted or numb enough to stop at an aire anyway; park next to a reefer at a port and that is noise enough.

 

 

 

Carbon monoxide, Nitrous oxide.

 

Both these gases and all other narcotic drugs are very easily found in a blood sample, all it requires is a gas chromatography test. surely any competent police force suspecting a gas attack would have blood sample analysed and the exact narcotic identified.

 

 

 

Steve W

2015 SorentoKX2 pulling a 2011 Sterling Eccles Moonstone

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Guest Hobbybod

Well believe what you will, but 'deepening the sleep', with some sort of anaesthetic agent, of those already asleep is quite a different scenario from making someone go unconscious, who is awake.

 

I HAVE met someone who was robbed and 'gassed'. The two, large, dogs never muttered a sound; normally they'd have barked the place down. Both folks woke up with fuddled heads.

The fact that many may not have met such a couple doesn't mean it doesn't happen. You can't prove a negative.

 

Press reports and TV interviews, last year, intimated at the ease of availability of the agent used; it's an automotive brake cleaner, based on diethyl ether.

 

French Police are rather cagey about these attacks seemingly, as it's not good for the Tourist Industry.

 

The idea that the liklihood of attack is similar in a campsite as in an Aire is incorrect.

 

Most French campsites restrict access after 10:30 - 11:00 pm and remain closed till ~7:00am. Aires will always be expected to have folks driving and walking about at all hours; with consequent easy escape.

 

This is not an Urban Myth. So why take the chance?

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On the car radio this evening heard on the 7pm news that the F&CO have issued warning to caravanners entering France to be aware of reports of gas attacks especially in the north of the country. It also appears that HGV's are also being targeted and that the Road Haulage Assciation are calling for an investigation into these attacks. Scaremongering or what??!

Volvo V70/Lunar Clubman 475/2 CKW

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Well believe what you will, but 'deepening the sleep', with some sort of anaesthetic agent, of those already asleep is quite a different scenario from making someone go unconscious, who is awake.

 

I HAVE met someone who was robbed and 'gassed'. The two, large, dogs never muttered a sound; normally they'd have barked the place down. Both folks woke up with fuddled heads.

The fact that many may not have met such a couple doesn't mean it doesn't happen. You can't prove a negative.

 

Press reports and TV interviews, last year, intimated at the ease of availability of the agent used; it's an automotive brake cleaner, based on diethyl ether.

 

French Police are rather cagey about these attacks seemingly, as it's not good for the Tourist Industry.

 

The idea that the liklihood of attack is similar in a campsite as in an Aire is incorrect.

 

Most French campsites restrict access after 10:30 - 11:00 pm and remain closed till ~7:00am. Aires will always be expected to have folks driving and walking about at all hours; with consequent easy escape.

 

This is not an Urban Myth. So why take the chance?

 

 

 

 

 

The TV and press can intimate all they like, I repeat, where is the forensic proof.

 

 

 

Steve W

2015 SorentoKX2 pulling a 2011 Sterling Eccles Moonstone

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Hi Steve,

 

I agree,

If this is such a problem why are we not hearing from the authorities instead of press conjecture?

 

Ian.

Bailey Unicorn Vigo and a 2017 Ford S Max and a Mercedes SLK AMG Sport 9 speed, my mid life crisis solver.

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But we are hearing from the authorities. ...............the foreign office is now issuing travel warning on this subject for France and is advising caravanners to instal alarms. Even on the radio this week police in Dordogne were taking very serious 16 reported incidents this week. Because one 'expert' has reportedly dismissed the theory that it is not possible, I wouold not become complacent and say it would never happen!

 

The Telegraph reports further on this and in the report the CC has also said it had received reports from victims and advises British tourists not to stay overnight in roadside rest areas.

 

Talking to police last month at a conference they are concerned that this type of attack is taking place in this country with many reports especially in northern England.

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Guest Hobbybod
But we are hearing from the authorities. ...............the foreign office is now issuing travel warning on this subject for France and is advising caravanners to instal alarms. Even on the radio this week police in Dordogne were taking very serious 16 reported incidents this week. Because one 'expert' has reportedly dismissed the theory that it is not possible, I wouold not become complacent and say it would never happen!

 

The Telegraph reports further on this and in the report the CC has also said it had received reports from victims and advises British tourists not to stay overnight in roadside rest areas.

 

Talking to police last month at a conference they are concerned that this type of attack is taking place in this country with many reports especially in northern England.

Cheers Mike. None so deaf as those that don't want to hear!!

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