Turister på den franske Rivieraen, steder som Cannes, St. Tropez og Nice, opplever å bli gasset mens de sover. Maskerte tyver kommer inn og rundstjeler dem. Det er brutale typer: barn som våkner har fått satt sprøyter i armen. Fransk politi tror det er russisk eller rumensk mafia og virker lite interessert.

Det burde de være: noen slike hårreisende historier og turister vil avbestille en masse.

Det å bli gasset mens man sover er noe de fleste som meget skremmende: det er den totale maktesløshet, feks. kan man ikke beskytte barna. Hva hindrer dem i å ta med et barn? Hva om dosen som brukes er så kraftig at det gir skader? Gass er også blitt brukt mot gravide.

Varmen gjør at folk enten har aircondition, eller lar dører eller vinduer stå på gløtt. Her sendes gassen inn.

After waiting outside for the gas to take effect, they creep back in and can take their time to ransack the rooms and steal cash, jewellery, credit cards, cameras and laptops.

The thieves wear masks to stop them succumbing themselves.

One victim, Lisa Smythe, was staying with her two sons in a house in a four-bedroom house in Valbonne when they fell victim to an £80,000 robbery.

The family were gassed through the letter box, but when one of the sons woke up to find masked men in his room they injected him with something to knock him out.

Mrs Smythe, 38, woke up feeling groggy and struggled to wake her sons.

Her eight-year-old, Robbie, had a needle mark on his arm, and he had to be tested for HIV.

Jewellery, cash and computers worth £50,000 had been stolen, as well as a £30,000 Mercedes CLK Cabriolet.

Mrs Smythe said: ‘It was a horrific and incredibly scary experience.

‘I felt sick, I knew we’d been gassed and robbed immediately as there’s been a spate of these sort of burglaries in the area and seeing a needle mark in my son’s arm was the worst moment of my life.

‘My other son, Tom, who is five, was very groggy and out of sorts and I had a banging headache and sore throat.

‘We believe that after we went to bed, burglars gassed us through the letterbox but there wasn’t enough to do the whole house and Robbie woke up.

‘The police didn’t really react, they just took a statement and they wouldn’t confirm we had been gassed.’

French police suspect the involvement of Russian mafia and Romanian gangs who target English-speaking tourists and expats, believing them to be rich and owning expensive cars and yachts.

Mrs Smythe said: ‘I got a private investigator involved, but he told me not to pursue it, saying it was most likely Russian Mafia and if I did anything to get them imprisoned I’d be risking my life.

‘He said the other gangs are French burglars from Nice, or Italian Mafia and even Romanian gangs who send in small children through the windows to open up the house.’

The French Riviera, including the glamorous resorts of Cannes, Saint-Tropez and Nice, is incredibly popular with the British during the summer.

Police fear the trend is spreading to other areas of Europe popular with Brits.

Leiebiler har egne nummerplater i Frankrike, noe som gjør det lett å lokalisere turister.

Det uhyggelige er brutaliteten og hensynsløsheten som ligger bak:

Two weeks ago Lucy Mclean and her husband Michael woke in their villa on the Cap D’Antibes to find £30,000 of their belongings had gone, including her engagement ring.

Mrs Mclean, who is 35 and five months pregnant, believes the gangs are using nitrous oxide stolen from dentists.

She added: ‘It’s so scary and upsetting and I won’t sleep in the house on my own now, we’re definitely going to move but it seems to be all over the French Riviera.

‘Almost everyone I know has had at least one break in they are definitely targeting British tourists, because they see all the yachts along the coast, which they think they are owned by us, so they think we are all really rich.

‘Rather than waiting until you are out of the house, now they want you to be at home as you’ll have all your cards and cash on you.

‘Once they’ve knocked you out with the gas they can take their time as they have a good six hours before you wake up.’

Gassed in their beds by Riviera robbers: Terrifying ordeal of the British tourists falling victim to Mediterranean gang crimewave