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Mindy and Richard Hammond fear knockout gas may have been used on their family during a burglary while on holiday in France.

While on holiday in St.Tropez, Richard Hammond and his family were subject to an audacious burglary. The couple were staying in a villa with their children and several guests when thieves broke in and stole cash from the 15 occupants as well as the watch of their youngest daughter, Willow.

“It wasn’t until myself and the other mums were taking the kids to the beach that Richard called and said, ‘Have you looked in your purses?’,” Richard’s wife Mindy told The Sunday Express. “We all looked in our purses and wallets and all the cash had gone. Nothing else had been stolen,” she added.

Upon waking, said a columnist for the publication, Mindy had noticed that the doors of everyone’s bedrooms were open, but no one had been disturbed during the night, it seems. “I’m pretty convinced we must have been gassed or something because they were in all of the bedrooms, they went where they wanted, into each room, opening and closing the drawers, searching through handbags etc,” she said.

Rumours of the use of knockout gas in burglaries targeting the wealthy around the French Riviera town began to circulate a few years ago. Jenson Button claimed that he and then-wife, Jessica Michibata, were gassed and then robbed in 2015, although nothing was ever proven. Experts haven’t been convinced by such claims, given the absence of the side effects and odour usually associated with substances like chloroform, plus the difficulty and expense of handling such materials. In the case of the Hammond's, the criminals may have just been extremely quiet.

The thieves also targetted a neighbouring property and were caught on CCTV. Police officers were said to have patrolled the area the following night, while the Hammond's and their guests employed a security guard for the remainder of their stay.

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