French Shooting: 'Armed Gangs' Warning For British Tourists In France After Family Killed

Was Shooting Of British Family Car Jacking By Armed 'Bandits'?

The French Alps shooting is a grim reminder of the dangers facing Britons who drive abroad, driving experts have warned.

Britons visit France in their millions each year, with many of these tourists choosing to take their cars with them.

"They are, quite frankly, bandits, and they target visitors from the UK," said AA president Edmund King.

He went on: "There have been incidents in the south of France and in places around Lyon. They look for UK-registered cars then they flash their lights and perhaps point at the tourist car's wheels.

"The tourists stop their car and while one gang member distracts them, another steals from their car. French police have been cracking down on these gangs but there have been isolated and organised incidents from particular gangs in particular areas."

Mr King went on: "There is quite a lot of hunting in southern France so there are a number of guns around. If guns have been carried in previous car-crime incidents then they normally have not actually been used.

"France is the number one country for Britons driving abroad and generally it's a safe country to drive in.

"There are usually a lot of traffic police around as there has been a big crackdown on drink-driving and on speeding of late."

He continued: "Our advice to UK drivers is not to stop if they feel uncomfortable when approached.

"Gangs think that if you are a foreigner you will be more likely to stop as you are a little unsure of yourself as you are abroad."

The Telegraph reported that in 2007, a string of tourists in France were gassed and robbed as they slept in caravans.

France also has far more relaxed gun laws that the UK, handguns, semi-automatic weapons and pump-action shotguns are legal if held by active gun club members. But members must have a licence for them and undergo a medical check.

In March, Mohammed Merah, who claimed to be linked to al-Qaeda, killed four people, three of them children at a Jewish school in Toulouse and shot three soldiers in separate incidents.

He was killed by police, jumping from the roof, after being holed up in his apartment in a 32-hour siege.

France receives more than 19m visits a year from Britons. In its travel advice, the Foreign Office warns those visiting France to take precautions against street and car crime.


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