Another Autoroute Robbery

Discussion in 'Continental Touring' started by John & Joan, Dec 12, 2013.

  1. John & Joan

    John & Joan Funster

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    Another warning. Friends of ours were travelling by Caravan to the South of France last week.

    On the A9 - Nimes Marguerites services, just after midnight, woke up with a strange man in the caravan, bit of a shock. Not a gas attack, but door lock forced.

    Lost her handbag with cash and cards and husbands clothing.

    They were both OK as they only got my her cards not her husbands cards, although the bank decided they would stop that after 3 days because of unusual activity - it was being used in France!!!! They had tried to tell them they were in France as that was were her card was stolen but the Indians at the call centre didn't seem to understand.

    These are old hands not newbies. They have been caravanning and running caravan sites including in the south of France and Spain for many years before retirement. They decided to take the risk and stay at a Autoroute services as they were tired after driving down through the UK and France.

    Heard of another couple (from a mutual friend) who were woken up in similar circumstances earlier this year. It was the smell of the person that woke them up they said.
     
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  2. Snowbird

    Snowbird Funster Life Member

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    Thanks for the warning John and it goes to show that we must always be on our guard against being robbed. But before anyone starts panicking about being robbed in France am sure there have been several similar incidents in the UK in the last week that have never made the news.
     
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  3. Jim

    Jim Ringleader

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    No one should be able to get into your motorhome while you sleep. :Doh: Most motorhome and caravan doors can be opened with a simple pen-knife or screwdriver. You cannot rely on those alone. Whether you stop on motorway aires or not, you should have a way of locking the doors while you are inside, or at the least have them alarmed. :Smile:
     
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  4. busby

    busby Funster

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    Fully agree Jim, easy job just to fit a bolt on inside of habitation door and at least strap front doors together when sleeping. BUSBY:BigGrin:
     
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  5. John Laidler

    John Laidler Funster

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    We have a Jack Russell.
     
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  6. hilldweller

    hilldweller Funster Life Member

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  7. Jim

    Jim Ringleader

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    Excellent choice, I think Thatcham approve Jack Russells :Smile:
     
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  8. Heyupluv

    Heyupluv Read Only Funster

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    BUT whatever you have ..think....YOU MUST BE ABLE TO GET OUT OF YOUR MOTORHOME.. C/VAN VERY QUICKLY IN CASE OF A FIRE...OR CARBON MONOXIDE !!!!!:Eeek::Doh:.....:RollEyes::Wink::Wink: I did not say gas attack :RollEyes:
     
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2013
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  9. DavidG58

    DavidG58 Funster

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    Out trumped by our Bernese Mountain dog but same result, we hope!!

    It must also depend on where people park at these services, we use them a lot, but always stay in clear sight of main fuel area
     
  10. iandsm

    iandsm Funster

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    Theft

    Despite all the warnings these experienced people stopped overnight on a service area, even after they had heard a mutual friend has been robbed in similar circumstances. They obviously did not have the caravan door alarmed or even fitted with a decent security lock or other device.

    A nasty experience for them and it would be harsh to say they should have (and apparently did) know better, but it does temper one's sympathy slightly.

    Never the less, warnings such as this do serve to keep most people aware of the risks and enable them to minimise them, if they choose to, so thanks to the OP.
     
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2013
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  11. DavidG58

    DavidG58 Funster

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    We have stopped at some far more scary aires, dark and secluded, compared to well lit service areas, it must depend on luck and where parked, we use service area a lot when travelling, but always stay well within sight of the fuel area

    Just a note to last poster, they had reported their card stolen, it was the unstolen one that then got stopped. Makes a change for it not to be me misreading!!
     
  12. hilldweller

    hilldweller Funster Life Member

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    Come on, this is FUN, let it out.... They got what they deserved. Their action will deter members here from travelling abroad.

    And all for £2.

    Let's not have FUN members being this stupid. Buy Jim's security book and READ IT and DON'T BE A VICTIM.
     
  13. ludo

    ludo Funster Life Member

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    Not just France and Spain either.


    Last week we were in Tenerife. We have UK friends living there and they took us to a number of places in their car.

    We were in a large Chinese shop/warehouse and we were in different aisles viewing the goods. A lady approached me and asked me to reach up and lift a large stainless steel cooking pot down which she could not reach. She looked very respectable and I did as she had asked to help her.

    I passed her the pot and as I turned away I felt something touch my leg. I turned quickly to see a man squatting down behind me who appeared to be looking at items on the bottom shelf. I looked down at my shorts to find the zip on my pocket wide open. He had managed to open the zip without me feeling a thing.

    I normally carry my main cash reserve in that pocket but wrapped tightly in a body belt which I pin to the inner, inside side of my pocket with a locking safety pin, (nappy pin). I suspect that is why I felt something when he was trying to remove the contents of my pocket.

    It took me several minutes to realise what had happened and when I did, I saw the lady, man and another man, quickly leaving the shop. They ran across the road, got into a car and sped off. I wasn't quick enough to get the number of the car.

    I went back into the shop and reported what had happened to the manager. He asked me to look at the cctv recording and the incident had been captured. He said that he would contact the police and give them a copy of the recording. The large pot, about 2ft in diameter, was later found dumped in another aisle.

    I am normally always aware of what is around me and thought it could not happen to me. However, the lady's request seemed so innocent and I was taken in and so easily distracted, giving the man the opportunity to raid my pocket. Thank goodness that my money was not loose and sealed in a bag which in turn was secured inside my pocket or it most certainly would have gone.


    There is certainly a lesson to be learned here!
     
  14. chaser

    chaser Funster

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    Went to Ypres last weekend, parked down the side of the canal by the menin gate , people up and down all night , bus,s cars walkers the lot, got up next morning , couldn't find van keys anywhere, went outside to have a look , they were only hanging from the lock , been there all night , must have been thousands walked past, just your luck int it, mostly good though, luckily :Doh::Doh::BigGrin:
     
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  15. hilldweller

    hilldweller Funster Life Member

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    I've pulled this part of you post to show others that you don't have to be a victim. Well done that FUNster.

    It is all in Jim's security book.

    No I'm not on commission but I did get a free copy to proof read it for him and it made a hell of a lot of sense inside and outside the motorhome.
     
  16. Chris

    Chris Funster Life Member

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    Yes it is a good book. I bought a copy and it was e-mailed to me. I started reading it but didnt know how to save it into my Kindle and now I dont know where it is:Doh:
     
  17. iandsm

    iandsm Funster

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    Deserved

    I did not say they "Got what they deserved". some may think they probably did, but I thought I might be accused of being insensitive should I say that.

    I doubt, and I hope very much, that this will not deter others from travelling abroad. I suspect that when compared to the number of motorhomes/caravans in Europe, the proportion of those who suffer a theft/robbery is very small indeed. It can be made even smaller by travellers using their brain and taking some precautions.
     
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  18. HymerB544

    HymerB544 Funster

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    Autoroute robbery

    I agree with Iandsm. This unfortunate couple did not get "what they deserved" since no-one deserves to be robbed, however, after all the dire warnings about the risks associated with sleeping on motorway aires, it is amazing that an experienced camper would take that risk. A few quid saved on proper campsite fees is clearly not always worth it.:Sad:
     
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  19. Allanm

    Allanm Funster

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    My sympathy goes out to them. No one deserves to be burgled, no matter the circumstances. Even though most people know the risks of parking in busy motorway aires, we saw many vans parked up for the night in dark areas in a couple of motorway aires we visited last week on our way down to Brittany.
    But, the same as at home, alarms and good locks will deter all but the most determined [STRIKE]scrote[/STRIKE] miscreant. Dogs are good too.

    We spent Saturday night in an aire in the town of Mortain, we arrived in the afternoon with one van already there. We went to bed at about 11pm then at about 1am, another van must have turned up. We were woken by our Beagle growling. He could hear people moving around outside about 100 metres away. We could barely hear anything, but he was alert and ready to attack / lick anyone who came near us!

    I suppose we are lucky, we have 2 dogs, deadlocks on the cab doors and a couple of good locks on the Hartal hab door and never stay long in motorway aires.

    Allan
     
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  20. veevee

    veevee Funster

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    Have been broken into 3 times.

    First in Spain. Parked mid day Boxing Day, bright, sunny with lots of people in the park we stopped beside in a well to do area. Spent 2 hours in a well known museum and came back to MH trashed, all the people in the park had disappeared.

    Second on an autoroute aire just north of Strasbourg, France. Week day around mid-day, bright, sunny and warm, very busy with cars and trucks, parked next to occupied trucks. Thief woke me as he broke in, we were both surprised only door damaged.

    Third. Directly outside my Mum's bungalow in a very nice area of Rayleigh, Essex. Parked perhaps 1.5 m from the bedroom Rosie and I was sleeping in with the window open. Found door open in the morning with lock smashed, never heard a thing and strangely nothing taken.

    Before anyone panics or think we have a lot of bad luck this is over 12 years in 3 different vehicles. We use our vehicles a lot including 3 years full timing.

    We have come to the conclusion that some preventative measures are best, too much and your MH will get mangled by people trying to get in and more importantly as said you may not get out fast enough if required.
    Deadlocks and especially the Abus type locks are fast to undo and are strong, some form of alarm maybe but we have all walked past vehicles with alarms going off. Dogs are a great idea but don't always fit with everyone.

    The end result for us is we travel in vehicles that are both vulnerable and desirable to get into. Sometimes it's just being in the wrong place at the wrong time. We accept we do a certain amount to stop these people getting in, after that we accept if we are unlucky, as the alternative is to make our home a fortress and never travel again... Nah, we live to travel.

    Question. Which of the 3 examples I have given shouldn't we have stopped at?

    ps: We have used motorway aires for about 30% of all our stops over the years, but we are aware if an aire 'doesn't feel right' or there are a group of young men hanging around we will move on immediately. I am not sure if the people advocating the non use of aires have slept in them often, are they speaking from experience?
     
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2013
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