There has been a lot of publicity in caravanning / camping magazines, and indeed in national & local newspapers about people getting robbed when stopping overnight at Autoroute Aires in France (and elsewhere, notably Italy & Spain). The thefts / break ins, from Caravans as well as Motorhomes are definite occurrences, and some of these have been reported on here. The whole picture gets cloudy when allegations of the use of narcotic gas to render the occupants unconscious are made. A typical report goes thus "I was robbed last night on the A99 - we stopped after driving up from Spain, and woke up in the morning with a headache and our cash & credit cards gone. They had broken in by forcing the cab door - they must have been using gas because we are both light sleepers, and we would have heard something, and we both woke up with a bad head".
No reports have been made of forensic checks on vehicles that have been subject to these robberies, in order to substantiate any claims of "gas" attacks. Indeed it has been reported on here that it would be extremely dangerous to use narcotic gases in a confined space like a motorhome, firstly because of the risk of explosion from heating / fridge naked flames, and secondly the use of these gases in uncontrolled circumstances can lead to death. Needless to say there have been no reports of motorhomes exploding while parked on Autoroute aires, or of people dying from asphyxiation due to the use of such gases.
I urge anybody who is interested to do a search of the forums using the words "gas" and "attacks", and read through the threads. There is indeed a great deal of scepticism shown (even ridicule
), maybe understandably when the facts are known.
A link which has been noted in several of the threads is to the Royal College of Aneasthetists here:-
For a respected and learned society to put out a statement that it is a myth speaks volumes!
The whole thing also seems to have been perpetuated by the Caravan Club - see my thread here
"So what should I do?" I hear you ask?
Well, firstly get a decent alarm, so if you are broken into you will be warned, and the possible robbers frightened off.
Secondly, avoid parking up overnight at Autoroute Aires, especially on the main holiday routes to the South of France - if you feel in the least bit uncomfortable about a place, go off the Autoroute and use an official Aire de Service Camping Cars in a village or town, a campsite or even just park up on a quiet road away from the Autoroute.
Plan it a little, if you need to overnight somewhere en route, get the aires book out, or check on the Camping Car web sites or our own sites / aires listings - don't leave it until you've driven 500 miles, and are getting too tired.
And finally, don't be scared by these stories, don't put yourself in danger, take a bit longer to find an overnight stop, you'll feel a lot better in the morning, having found a nice village with a boulangerie for an authentic Breakfast,