Beware sleeping gas gang

Jim

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Its the turn of todays Daily Telegraph to trot out this perrenial faovourite:RollEyes::winky:

Beware sleeping gas gang, caravanners told


By Martin Beckford Daily Telegraph

17/08/2007

The Foreign Office is advising caravanners to instal alarms after a string of tourists in France were gassed and robbed as they slept. It is also suggested that they stay only on official campsites after Britons who had parked overnight at roadside rest areas had valuables stolen, apparently after gas was pumped into their vans to render them helpless. In the most recent incident, an elderly couple who had parked in a lay-by near La Croix Valmer, in southern France, woke to find £1,200 in cash stolen as well as their passports, bank cards, mobile phones and satellite navigation system.

Diane Bezer and Geoff Sillito believe thieves piped sleeping gas through the vents of their camper van, knocking them out so they could raid their camper van without fear of being disturbed. Mrs Bezer, of Winterbourne Bassett, Wilts, said: "When we woke up everything was gone and we had a really woozy feeling. The gas had an effect because we didn't wake up until 9am and we are usually awake at 7am.
"We carried on with our holiday but it was ruined. I couldn't sleep at night after it happened because I kept thinking I was breathing gas. I still feel traumatised and can't get it out of my mind."

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."
The Foreign Office's advice on crime in France now states: "There is also a continuing problem of burglaries taking place during the night whilst travellers have been asleep in their caravans, mobile homes or other vehicles. "Thefts have occurred in rest areas on the A25 (Dunkirk to Lille) and A16 (Calais-Dunkirk) motorways. In some cases, victims had first been rendered unconscious by the thieves using gas. Try to avoid parking in isolated or dark areas of camping grounds or car parks, and consider installing an alarm in your caravan or mobile home."
The Caravan Club said it had also received reports from victims and advises British tourists not to stay overnight in roadside rest areas known as Aires de Service, where most of the crimes are thought to have taken place.
 

Munchie

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Sorry 'fraid I still think this is b******s. Isn't it odd it's always motorhomes never heard of this happening to tuggers?
 

johnsandywhite

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:Cool: Looks like I will have to stop taking £15,000 in cash with me on our trips and our £2000 x 2 Laptops plus our £55,000 worth of Gold Jewellery and, and etc, etc. :roflmto:



:Smile: No Disrespect meant John (RR). :winky:
 
OP
Jim

Jim

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The clincher for me is that if the toerags had the knowledge about how to do this, they would target the truck drivers with their tens of thousands of £££ cargo's, and not the motorhomer with his camera, phone and a few euros. Some of our members are in the truck business and they would know if it was happening.

Honest people have reported that they have fallen asleep after too much vino, forgotton to lock up and been robbed whilst they slept, its too easy to try and save a little face, as well as an insurance claim and shout gas:RollEyes:
 

scotjimland

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Honest people have reported that they have fallen asleep after too much vino, forgotton to lock up and been robbed whilst they slept, its too easy to try and save a little face, as well as an insurance claim and shout gas:RollEyes:
Exactly, there is absolutely no scientific evidence of gas ever been used in this way.

Unfortunately robberies do occur, best advice is don't overnight on autoroute aires no matter how safe they feel in daytime.
 

Road Runner

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i got robbed in Spain in our caravan overnight along with a dozen other vehicles on the Autopista 7:wub:

It happens somehow:frowny:

No alcohol

No late nights

No use of drinking water at services.

Also went around our vehicles with a Great Dane innit.

 
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vanessa

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The autoroute aires do have a bad reputation for being "easy targets", saldy. Easy to do a "hit" and get out quickly. Whether or not the gas-attack thing is real, the fact is attacks do happen on these aires at night.
 

JockandRita

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Hi all,

I can just imagine the scenario...........the theiving, robbing scumbags fill up the your MH/RV with a volume of flammable gas, thereby creating an explosive atmosphere, whilst the fridge is operating very efficiently on it's own supply! :whatthe: They then cut out the rubber seal and remove the quarter light window and open the door, at risk of setting off the alarm system and operating the interior cab light. :whatthe: They then clamber all over the interior of the vehicle, looking for goodies, whilst not wearing any form of apperatus to prevent their being overcome, by their own intoxicating atmosphere. :whatthe: And all this whilst wearing static electrically charged, nylon tracky bottoms. :whatthe:
I DON'T THINK SO!!!

No disrespect to John & Irena, as whatever happened must have been frightening, and bewildering.

I am looking at it from a ex professional point of view, however, if someone in the know, can point me in the direction of a medical/intoxicating gas which is inert, then I may be persuaded otherwise.

Jock.
 
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Hugh Jardon

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perhaps everyone should have a yorkshire terrier fitted, one that barks at the slightest noise!

we had one which was great until he died of old age!:frowny:
 
G

GeorgeTelford

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Wow, where to begin?

The foriegn office have no evidence whatsoever, I rang and asked them, they only posted a warning due to people ringing and asking about these so called "Reports" ie daft newspaper stories.

Jock made some good points, but there are more, these thieves are sitting on a medical goldmine, a gas that can render many people unconcious with no need for trained anaesthetists and never kill, what would the medical world pay for such a breakthrough?

probably the best special forces in the world have to make do with gases that kill the very people they are trying to save, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moscow_theater_hostage_crisis here is a quote

"Moscow's health committee chairman, announced that all but one of the hostages that were killed in the raid had died of the effects of the unknown gas, rather than from gunshot wounds."

"About 700 surviving hostages were poisoned by gas, and some of them became invalids of the second and third category; several special forces servicemen were also poisoned by the gas during the operation."

Seems to me that these gas thieves would make far more selling this fantastic new gas than they make robbing motorhomes.
 

Road Runner

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I was robbed and it does happen:winky:how I don't know but until you it happens to you keep an open mind please (I dont sell gas alarms BTW:roflmto:)

I dont take insult anymore but anyone who knows me and the size of my dogs must know we are not an easy target but were robbed along with others at the same location.

I so want to wild camp out here in France and stayed in an aire one night (trouble is Irina sat up by the door all night sadly) it has ruined the wonderment of some fabulous locations.
 
G

GeorgeTelford

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Hi Road Runner

Nobody is suggesting that robberies do not occur, but the simple fact is that gas is not involved, there as never been a single shred of evidence of any gas use in any of these robberies.
 

Tony Santara

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Only the people who were robbed know what happened
fact is if you let it worry you you may as well sell the motorhome
theres no point in going on a trip when you are afraid to enjoy it
JMHO
 
M

melplash

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Only the people who were robbed know what happened

possibly not as they were asleep. The robbers know though. Just wish they could catch one.
 

Tony Santara

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Only the people who were robbed know what happened

possibly not as they were asleep. The robbers know though. Just wish they could catch one.
I am sure when they wake up they would have a good idea of how the robbers got in a locked (or not ) vehicle
if it was not locked who do you blame? if gas was used how does it get into the vehicle? through the roof vents? who left them open?
 
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Hi Road Runner

Nobody is suggesting that robberies do not occur, but the simple fact is that gas is not involved, there as never been a single shred of evidence of any gas use in any of these robberies.
Your opinion George, mine is different, but we will not argue again over this will we?:Blush:
 
G

GeorgeTelford

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Graham

It is a matter of fact that gas attacks do not occur, opinions do not come into it.
 
Aug 16, 2007
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Graham

It is a matter of fact that gas attacks do not occur, opinions do not come into it.
Sorry, but I believe that you and the so called experts are wrong.
As someone else has said, only the people that it has happened to really know!
I believe that it happens and not a word you could say would alter my opinion.
You are entitled to your opinion, but lets not argue again
regards
 
G

GeorgeTelford

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Based on what evidence?

Why do you believe common thieves have it?, but Governments, special forces and the medical profession have to use the old dangerous stuff that kills people and takes years of training to use.

Why is the scientific evidence wrong?

At least my position is supoported by all of the evidence.

If you are going to comment at least try to substantiate your post with some shred of evidence.
 
Aug 16, 2007
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Based on what evidence?

Why do you believe common thieves have it?, but Governments, special forces and the medical profession have to use the old dangerous stuff that kills people and takes years of training to use.

Why is the scientific evidence wrong?

At least my position is supoported by all of the evidence.

If you are going to comment at least try to substantiate your post with some shred of evidence.
George,
So called experts have been proven time and time again to be wrong.
None of us really know what governments have or have not, we only know what they want us to know.
Regarding the gas, well it has all been said before and I would imagine everyone has their own opinions.
 
G

GeorgeTelford

Deleted User
Hi Grath

Well lets see, goverments hmmm, the Russians didnt use this secret gas because they were saving it for an emergency? so to keep it secret they used one that killed over 170 people and disabled 700 others.

We still kill people in operating theatres all over the world and take years to train the anaesthetists, just so we can keep this new totally safe wonder gas a secret?

Even if the Governments had it, why are they supplying motorhome thieves? it is plain to see that what you say doesnt make any sense at all.
 

scotjimland

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No disrespect to anyone who has suffered an attack and claims that a gas was administered but until there is concrete scientific evidence of gas being used it is futile to argue or speculate, we all have our opinions and beliefs, but until such time lets put this one to bed please.

Jim
 
F

fordy

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Hi all i just wish that the next person that thinks they have been robbed by the use of a sleeping gas gets themselves tested to prove this one way or another. i am sure that a simple blood test will show any sign of any such gas in a victim i had the slightest fear that i had been gassed in any way that would be the first thing i would do if only to make sure their was no lasting effects .I M H O ..

FORDY:Confused:
 

superk

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Without wishing to extend the debate unnecessarily there are a number of problems here in relation to the taking of evidence and extrapolation of evidence from 'mass gassing' situations very different to the confined space of a motorhome or truck cab.
Even the most arrogant scientist would never claim anything as a 'fact' they would simply say that on the basis of the evidence available to them by diligent research or the evidence they had produced by experimentation they drew certain conclusions. They would always balance these conclusions by alternative possibilities or explanations and be prepared to discuss these and indeed be open to an alternative or modified opinion when new or different evidence is produced by other researchers or even themselves later. They would only be able to publish their data after it had been reviewed independently by at least three other experts in their field. So, it would be wrong to be dismissive of anyone's evidence and claim all knowledge on the matter and something as a fact.

Here's what 15 minutes of my own research produced:

There is 'evidence' obtained by reportage of personal experiences that suggests that gas attacks may occur:

Scarborough Today - Couple Gassed and Robbed
The Sun - Vieira Gassed by Robbers
The Telegraph - Power Boat Team Gassed and Robbed
Northampton Police Online - Northampton truck driver gassing
Daily Echo - Gassed and Robbed as they Slept
This is Hampshire - Couple Gassed and Robbed as they Slept
Telegraph News - Vigilante Expats take on Spain’s Gangs
Truck & Driver - Gas Attacks are on the Up
Sunday Life - Gassed and Robbed in Bedroom
Sunday Mercury - Drivers Gassed as they Sleep
Sunday Sun - Truck Drivers Warned over ‘Gas Attacks’
Huddersfield Daily Examiner - Company Combats Gas Attacks on Truckers
RHA Security News - Warning for Drivers...
Daily Express - Evil French Gas Britons
The Times - Thieves Gas Britons Sleeping in Camper Van
Practical Motorhome - Travel Advice
Spalding Today - Gassed and Burgled in Holiday Drama
The Sunday Post - Gassed in Spain?
Fast Growth 50 - Lorry Drivers Gassed

The reference source for these is http://www.nereusalarms.co.uk/ you will note that this is a gas alarm company keen on gathering evidence this does not however lessen the strength of the evidence simply that they have sought to collect what they could to support their product. The original evidence was independently reported.

Various other alarm companies have produced similar reports.

from http://www.gasattackalarm.com/pressreviews.htm

Cargo Security International report more European Gassings read >>>
Spalding Today - Gassed and burgled in holiday drama read >>>
Sunday Life Online - Spanish thieves strike as Ulster couple sleep read >>>
Sunday Sun - Truck drivers warned over 'gas attacks' read >>>
Trucking Magazine - Wake up to gas read >>>
Motor Caravan Motorhome Monthly Protection from sleeping gas read >>>
The Times - Thieves gas Britons sleeping in camper van read >>>
Daily Express - Evil French Gas Britons. read >>>
UK Trucking - New Gas Alarm Protects Drivers from “Sleeping-Gas” read >>>
Sunday Mercury - Drivers gassed as they sleep. read >>>
IC Huddersfield.co.uk - Company combats gas attacks on truckers read >>>
Road Haulage Association - Warning for drivers read >>>


I apologies if there is overlap in the above.
Have there been any official reports?

http://www.publicservice.co.uk/pdf/ti/issue9/TI9 Frank HJ ATL.pdf

is a report based on interviews with truck drivers on attacks by official authorities concerned about the frequency of increasing attacks. It scientifically looks at other reports and discusses these for example 1,834 questionnaires returned (37%) from Danish truck drivers 16% had been attacked. A survey by The European School of Management on European truck drivers in 2004 showed that between 2000-3 again 16% had suffered a cab break-in. Only 44% contacted the police. Less than half claimed loss of effects.

The report 'also backs up anecdotal evidence pointing to a growing frequency of attacks using gas, which is pumped through air vents to render the driver unconscious. The research showed that 11% of drivers had been subject to a gas attack, with a further 11% unsure - complling evidence toward an emerging and extremely dangerous trend.'

Note I am quoting here.

What we want is expert anaesthetic appearance. An attempt at this was provided in the journal Anaesthesia, 2007 pages 88-100 by Drs G Park & M Shelly from Cambridge and Manchester. This is a Letter to the Editor, which means it has not been reviewed, other than by The Editor.

http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/doi/pdf/10.1111/j.1365-2044.2006.04931.x?cookieSet=1

The July 2006 edition of Practical Motorhome has four separate advertisements
for anaesthetic gas alarms with prices ranging from £74.99 to £169. Motorhome owners are not alone in buying anaesthetic gas alarms; long
distance lorry drivers are also interested. Apparently, there is a new crime of
stealing from these vehicles while the occupants are asleep, the robber having
sprayed a narcotic gas into the vehicle. The gas ensures that the occupants do not wake up during the robbery. A study in Truck and Driver [1] reported that 16% of long distance lorry drivers questioned had experienced either a cab break in or a personal attack between 2000 and 2003. Of these, 11% claimed the attack involved ‘gas’ and a further 11% were unsure if it had been used or not. Motorhome and lorry drivers are targeted because they often park in
isolated areas on motorway service stations (especially in France) where these
attacks are possible. Much of the anxiety is spread by rumour in the press and on the internet. It is unclear which gas is used. The most likely ‘gas’ used was an ether obtained from readily available products used to start reluctant engines by spraying them into the engine air intakes. These contain diethyl ether and other substances such as di-isopropyl ether, isohexane, acetone and propane. The two ethers are present in concentrations of 10–30%.
Can spraying ether into a motorhome or a lorry cab induce deep sleep?
The answer to this is not as straightforward as might at first be thought. The
number of tins sprayed in will obviously affect the concentration in the inhaled
air. The size of the sleeping compartment is another consideration. Small
lorry cabs and motorhomes may allow concentrations to increase to levels that
may induce sleepiness. However, this needs to be tempered with the recognition that ether is irritant. Of the few reports of attacks in the media we have only been able to find one where the victim complained of coughing during
the night [2] and none of the vomiting associated with ether. If an alternative
gas such as propane or butane is used (both readily available as cooking fuels
in large amounts), then suffocation would be the only way that sleep could
be deepened. The siting of the bunk is also of great importance. Ethers, propane and butane are heavier than air and a high level bunk will mean that less will reach the occupants. A further factor to consider is the ventilation of the lorry or motorhome. A well ventilated cab or motorhome on a windy, warm night will have many changes of air compared with a poorly ventilated area with all the windows shut tight on a frosty, windless morning. A final consideration is the state of the occupants. They may well be tired and, especially after a long drive from the UK, have indulged in a glass
or two of wine (especially in France) before turning in for the night. The
combination of fatigue and alcohol will certainly be additive to the effects of any
sedative agent inhaled.
We doubt that sufficient ether or other gas could be sprayed into any vehicle to give a sufficiently high concentration to induce general anaesthesia. However, it might be possible to add a small amount of sedation to an already sleeping, slightly intoxicated occupant. If this is so, then one interesting thought is should the victim be allowed to drive a 32-ton juggernaut or a motorhome several times the size of a normal car immediately afterwards, or should they wait the 24 h they would required to after medical sedation?
We have a relatively large, modern well ventilated motorhome with the bed over the garage at the back, needing a ladder to get into it. Above the bed is
a ventilator. Will we be investing in an alarm? The answer is ‘yes’. Not because
we are afraid of being sedated or anaesthetised (with their attendant risks)
and robbed, but because of the less obvious risk of fire. Criminals reading
about this crime may be tempted to try it; details are readily available on the
internet, even down to the best type of motorhome to attack. Having sprayed
the ether or gas into the motorhome there is a risk of fire from one of the gas-powered or electrically driven appliances. Losing credit cards and mobile phones are one thing, waking to find an ether fire doesn’t bear thinking about [3]. We could not find any reports of vehicle fires, probably confirming the rarity of this type of robbery. Even so, an alarm with a loud siren will wake us up and hopefully frighten off would be burglars.
G. Park
Cambridge, UK
E-mail: gilbertpark@doctors.org.uk
M. Shelly
Manchester, UK
References
1 Anonymous. Gas attacks are on the up.
Truck and Driver 2004: July 6.
2 http://www.nereusalarms.co.uk/html/
gas_stories_in_the_news.html [accessed
26 June 2006].
3 MacDonald AG. A short history of fires
and explosions caused by anaesthetic
agents. British Journal of Anaesthesia
1994; 72: 710–22.

So even the experts are not sure and certainly don't claim it as a fact that attacks don't occur. It would be extremely advantageous to have evidence taken at the scene but unless someone is motivated to do it and can overcome the logistics of instant blood sample taking and subsequent analysis it's unlikely. Unless the police can see a benefit in doing it this situation will continue. But not having evidence is not proof of the event not having occurred.

I have no personal opinion either way but I will take precautions on the basis that it might happen.
 

Road Runner

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When we were robbed we were in total confusion and amazement as to what had happened for a day or two.

Our door was prized open on our caravan.

To be honest it is a little annoying when it has happened to you and keyboard experts come on line and trash your HONEST comments.

I have nothing to gain by this discussion but would feel all the insults have been worthwhile if it saves just one other family the experience we suffered :Doh:






===================================================

GT I don't know whether to laugh or cry that you have found this FRIENDLY forum:Doh:
 
Aug 25, 2007
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Nobody has yet quoted this letter from the experts in which they cast some serious cosiderations that should be taken into account in this augument. A gas alarm may well be too late if you have inhaled enough of the anesthetic.

Keith

Quote
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""
Unquote
 
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