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Guest marksimonpowell

French Horror Story

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what is something "handy" to have in the car that doesnt look too offensive, but could be if needed - if you get my drift?tongue.gif

 

The big D/C cell maglite torches are handy, plus every self respecting caravanner will travel with a decent torch handy won't we?

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The big D/C cell maglite torches are handy, plus every self respecting caravanner will travel with a decent torch handy won't we?

 

 

When I was a taxi driver in the 70s, we used the large rubber eveready torch, very effective and does not break the skin so difficult to prove it was used as anything other than a torch.

 

 

Steve W

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I think you'll find that most of these robberies are done using distraction techniques, the main thing is to keep your wits about you.

 

When we were done in Spain a couple of years ago, the police told us that most of it is done by immigrants, if they use violence they will get deported (if there're caught).

 

Pete

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Whilst we have not experienced any problems from the less desirable fraternity during our European travels, we have a 2 ft "swishy" riding crop stategically placed in the car just in case. It delivers a nasty smack at a safe distance. As a 6ft plus ex military man I also wouldn't be standing with my hands in my pocket if our "friends" wanted to relieve me of my property.

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what is something "handy" to have in the car that doesnt look too offensive, but could be if needed - if you get my drift?tongue.gif

 

 

Pity, but if we could justify carry starting handles these days the problem would be solved.

 

However a 'Krook-Lock' device would more than do the 'business'

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Isn't it a shame we even have to discuss these matters, when all people want to do is travel to a holiday destination.

It seems our eastern european visitors / residents are becoming the most frequent offenders. Yet again a small minority spoiling it for decent law abiding folks.

 

Please be careful if considering confronting these types, they more often than not carry knives. A possibly drugged up knife carrying criminal, doesn't really care what size you are or what your past job was.

 

Be alert, stay safe & most of all enjoy your holidays / visits.

Edited by Je-reviens

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I think you'll find that most of these robberies are done using distraction techniques, the main thing is to keep your wits about you.

 

When we were done in Spain a couple of years ago, the police told us that most of it is done by immigrants, if they use violence they will get deported (if there're caught).

 

Pete

 

 

"the police told us that most of it is done by immigrants" - do you mean the Brits laugh.gif

 

 

Kevin

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Since we robbed in a service station while the the motorhome was left unattended we have always carried a spray oven cleaner in the front of the car with us. As yet we have not had to use it but I certainly wouldn't think twice if threatened.

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Guest marksimonpowell

Since we robbed in a service station while the the motorhome was left unattended we have always carried a spray oven cleaner in the front of the car with us. As yet we have not had to use it but I certainly wouldn't think twice if threatened.

 

 

i like that one! tongue.gif

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In the early 90s when childrens'school holidays and work meant we were always travelling on French Red weekends, we used to cross from Newhaven to Dieppe on the Fri night crossing reaching Dieppe about 0030. We then drove through Rouen and stopped in the first Aire that we came to on our route for Evreux and beyond. The van was all set up for us just to climb in and sleep for 4 hours or so and then make an early start the next morning to stay ahead, hopefully, of the rush. We did this 2 years on the trot and were only disturbed on the 2nd occasion by 2 drunk Brits knocking on the door at 6 in the morning wanting a lift - where they appeared from I do not know.

 

Last year when I drove past the Aire in daylight, I thought 'did we really stop there overnight?' as it was no more than a large lay-by protected from the road noise by trees. I would never consider stopping there now as I think that there has been a huge change in attitude and awareness as the number of petty criminals who see caravans and motorhomes as a potential target has grown very significantly.

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getting rather concerned now as we are / were planning on a few hours kip at an aire near orleans, although this would be in the morning and not in darkness.

 

We stayed on a municipal to the south of Orleans at Vierzon a few years back and felt very uncomfortable with the residents that were there. They had taken over the site and had children's play things or washing lines on the spare pitches near them. We were allocated a pitch right in the middle of them and they were not very friendly towards us at all.

 

They may have been Eastern Europeans but surely, even if they didn't speak the language, a simple reply to "Bonjour" should not have been too much trouble for them. They were very shifty too and wouldn't look at us. They obviously had money as they all had new Mercedes cars!

 

It really gave us the creeps staying there and has put us off staying at Municipals now unless they are those that we have stayed in before and know that they are all right. There is no way we would stop at an aire near Orleans other than for filling up with petrol.

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Clearly what most people seem to be talking about is distraction robberies, particularly at service stations. I suppose all we can do is be alert. We stopped at an Aire de Repos last year for a loo break. I went first and Maragert stayed with the car and caravan. As i went in the lo a big fellow came and I just nodded to him. When I got back to the car and asked Margaret if she was going she no, not here. Why I asked well those guys who you passed on the way the the loo have all got guns :o I suspect they were private security guards, at least I hope!

 

For those of you that stay on Aires or perhaps are a bit uncertain about certain campsites I have rigged up a door alarm using a personal attack alarm. If anyone forced the door they would pull the pin out before they realised what was happening, especially in the dark. I have attached a picture below. Paranoid or what :(

 

David

post-151-12737596915_thumb.jpg

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David -- we have those alarms -- dead cheap -- cant think exactly how much but I am sure that we didn't pay more than £6 for them --

we have three --and put them on the open windows and the door.

 

There was a thread some time ago about them and I posted the address. .

 

Maurice

 

Now found the productPersonal alarm

 

and the thread Alarm thread

Edited by MauriceH

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Paranoid or what

 

 

 

 

No more so than me. Should anyone try to force our door, first they'll need to bend the tube, then they'll pull the cord to the personal alarm. Picture005.jpg

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We past by a spot in the Basque area where an english couple had been shot a few days earlier because they wouldnt give up their caravan, that was back in the mid 90's.

 

Ive parked up late on a night in a service station in South/west France and within minutes had vehicles hovering around looking for an opertunity.

 

I was driving a 150k sportshome through the Basque area at 2am and picked up a police escort all the way to the French border, I didnt know it was a Police escort until we arrived at the border. There was a few of us in the Sportshome and believe you me, all of us were ready for a scrap!!!, we thought it was the Basque Separatists. We had been warned by the Spanish police at Madrid that we were a prime target if we went the route we told them we were taking- What a relief when we realised it was the Police in front and behind us and not the BS, but it wasnt at the time.

 

Ive stayed many a night in France and Spain in the streets in a Caravan or Motorhome and never had any problems whatsoever. We stopped overnight in a car park in a small village past Orlean's, the locals welcomed us in the local pub and I have never felt hospitality like it-Fantastic!!!!

 

In the morning, suffering from large hangovers, the car park is where they had their local market and they had set up all their stalls around us. Well you can imagine the large cheer from the residents has we emerged from our caravan. Fresh coussants and coffee in large numbers were given and a way out was made and a fond farewell by all.

 

 

So there are good areas and bad area's, but the best advise is to always stay in a well lite and busy area.

Edited by Stansdad

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I thought all french communes had to provide an overnight area for motorhomes, in which case why do people bother with aires etc?

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Not sure if they have to, but most villages have an area for vehicles or caravans, our village has a small grassed area with toilet, tap & sink. The two larger villages either side of us have places for motorhomes & waste emptying facilities.

Back to our village a couple of times a year travellers stay a few days on our area, but recently the village put a height limit bar accross the entrance, it seems you have to ask at the Maire for it to be unlocked.

 

If you are looking to stay at one of these type stop overs, the place to ask is the village Maire, if its open that time & day.

 

I expect that for those travelling from the UK it's easier to stop at a municipal, rather than start going into small villages trying to find a place to park up, then trying to find the Maire, then trying to explain what you want etc.

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A friend of mine was travelling into a town in France on a train having parked up on a site. A young lad dashed onto the train at a stop, grabbed his wife's handbag and jumped off again followed by my friend. He was immediately confronted by three youths on the crowded platform who, despite my friend being over six foot and well built, set upon him breaking both his legs. If it were me they were robbing I would let them go - life's too short!

 

I follow a previous post and split important documents and cash up and hide it around the car and ourselves. Travelling for 20 years in France I have never personally had a problem, but carry a "muggers wallet" just in case.

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These stories must be true, because it happened to someone who knows someone who saw someone on the telly saying it was so.

 

Funny there's never a first hand experience. Perhaps caravan forum users are too worldly wise.

 

But then again, they beleive what somebody told them that happened to someone who knew someone who saw it on the telly.

 

tongue.gifcool.giftongue.gifcool.giftongue.gif

 

Turning up to, what turned out in the morning, an absolutely beautiful Aire just outside Toulouse late one evening, the four of us, my wife and two young children, went to bed.

 

I was already suspicious of a group of blokes pretending I think to fix their car near the toilets.

 

I couldn't sleep and a couple of hours later, I heard what sounded like birds on the roof.

 

It wasn't, it was someone trying to get in.

 

Luckily, I had a large iron mallet (for the awning pegs) and 6" carving knife in my hand and I made sure they could see me through the window.

 

I shouted at them to clear off at which point they asked for "cigarettes".

I then shouted for my wife to ring the police. .....I didn't know the number!

 

They cleared off.

 

I was still suspicious so I stayed awake and sure enough, well after midnight, they came back.

 

I was ready for them this time and I jumped out of the van and started running at them (I was still "tooled up"). They scarpered and didn't come back.

 

I had no intention of catching them. ...but they didn't know that.

I found out later they had ruined my door lock.

 

 

I now take an air horn with me and if it happens again I will blow it out of the Heki!

 

. ..and a narcotic gas alarm

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Turning up to, what turned out in the morning, an absolutely beautiful Aire just outside Toulouse late one evening, the four of us, my wife and two young children, went to bed.

 

I was already suspicious of a group of blokes pretending I think to fix their car near the toilets.

 

I couldn't sleep and a couple of hours later, I heard what sounded like birds on the roof.

 

It wasn't, it was someone trying to get in.

 

Luckily, I had a large iron mallet (for the awning pegs) and 6" carving knife in my hand and I made sure they could see me through the window.

 

I shouted at them to clear off at which point they asked for "cigarettes".

I then shouted for my wife to ring the police. .....I didn't know the number!

 

They cleared off.

 

I was still suspicious so I stayed awake and sure enough, well after midnight, they came back.

 

I was ready for them this time and I jumped out of the van and started running at them (I was still "tooled up"). They scarpered and didn't come back.

 

I had no intention of catching them. ...but they didn't know that.

I found out later they had ruined my door lock.

 

 

I now take an air horn with me and if it happens again I will blow it out of the Heki!

 

. ..and a narcotic gas alarm

 

Sorry mate but you must be mad sleeping in an Aire's. Have you not read any of the caravan mag's or CC and CCC advice.

Dave

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Oh dear. .. now we have the "all foreigners are junkie thieves, particularly the dark skinned ones and if you are from Eastern Europe you are obviously born a thief" thread again, whilst forgetting that the UK also has some crime.

 

However, if you actually talk to some of European neighbours, you'll discover that they generally think of UK visitors as the biggest thugs in Europe. You only have to watch a few minutes of one of those holiday in Ibiza programmes to see why.

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Oh dear. .. now we have the "all foreigners are junkie thieves, particularly the dark skinned ones and if you are from Eastern Europe you are obviously born a thief" thread again, whilst forgetting that the UK also has some crime.

 

However, if you actually talk to some of European neighbours, you'll discover that they generally think of UK visitors as the biggest thugs in Europe. You only have to watch a few minutes of one of those holiday in Ibiza programmes to see why.

I think there is a difference between thugs and thieves.

When we were mugged (distraction techniques) in spain it was by eastern europeans, FACT

At the police station we were told that kind of crime is done by eastern europeans or morrocans, FACT

 

Equally we wouldn't want to go where there are a lot of boozed up package tour brits.

 

The problem we have now is that we don't trust anyone, which is a shame because 95% of all peoples are OK.

 

Pete

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95% of all peoples are OK.

 

Pete

 

Exactly. And I bet the percentage is higher than 95%. For every horror story abroad, I've had 20-30 stories of meeting the friendliest, most helpful people you can imagine. I don't doubt you were mugged by East Europeans, but just because that is true, it does not mean that all East Europeans are muggers or that every mugging is carried out by an East European. Unfortunately, I'm not sure the Spanish police force is known for it's tolerant attitude to non-Spanish people (sounds a bit like the supposedly endemic racism of our police).

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Sorry mate but you must be mad sleeping in an Aire's. Have you not read any of the caravan mag's or CC and CCC advice.

Dave

 

 

I don't think caravantalk was around in 2002 when this happened. It was our first holiday in the van abroad so we were very naive.

 

this sort of thing was relatively rare. ..plus we had an old van.

 

This year we have a spanking new van. ..I've already added a few extras but I've told my wife they come as standard fittings.

 

Fire extinguishers are very good at putting thieves off, especially the small ones which are very easy and quick to operate (and cheap).

 

Would I stop in an aires?....yes I would if it's the difference between falling asleep at the wheel or having a short break.

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I don't think caravantalk was around in 2002 when this happened. It was our first holiday in the van abroad so we were very naive.

 

this sort of thing was relatively rare. ..plus we had an old van.

 

This year we have a spanking new van. ..I've already added a few extras but I've told my wife they come as standard fittings.

 

Fire extinguishers are very good at putting thieves off, especially the small ones which are very easy and quick to operate (and cheap).

 

Would I stop in an Aries?....yes I would if it's the difference between falling asleep at the wheel or having a short break.

 

I think you got the wrong end of the stick. We all stop off for a break, cup of tea and a rest. Iam talking about sleeping all night dusk till dawn. You

can always find a site to stop at just off the autoroute and you will sleep a lot better. wink.gif

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