Richard Hammond’s wife Mindy has said she is “pretty convinced” that they were gassed before being robbed at a villa in France.
She claimed that a holiday home they stayed in last month, which had 15 guests, was targeted by two raiders who stole cash and her teenage daughter Willow’s watch.
They were in all of the bedrooms – they went where they wanted, into each room, opening and closing the drawers, searching through handbags.MINDY HAMMOND
Mindy believes that everyone in the villa in St Tropez was knocked out by anaesthetic gas, because even the sound of the former Top Gear star’s snoring did not wake her.
She told the Sunday Express newspaper that they thought that something was wrong when Willow could not find her watch, but that perhaps “she’d just left it somewhere, or maybe one of the teenagers had been sleepwalking in the night.
“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?’. We all looked in our purses and wallets and all the cash had gone. Nothing else had been stolen.”
She said she then realised something was odd, as her bedroom door – and the doors of the other guests – had been open in the morning.
She added: “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.”
Mindy said that the perpetrators “have got to have some kind of confidence to do that and to be quite satisfied that people aren’t going to wake”.
She added: “That morning I slept in until eight. I didn’t even wake to Richard’s snoring! Nobody woke up.”
She said that the neighbouring property had also been burgled in the same night.Mindy, a columnist for the newspaper, said that they employed a security guard after the incident, and police arrested the two burglars within 48 hours.
She said: “Both were on CCTV. One of them looked quite a lot like Richard! They were both caught quite quickly.”
She added: “It didn’t spoil the trip at all, although I think if we hadn’t been in the position where we were able to get the security in, it may have done.
“It’s particularly worrying when you have a teenage girl who knows that her bedside table has been rifled through while she was sleeping – that’s not very nice at all.
“The other worry for all the wives was that the husbands think, ‘We are going to stay up all night because we are dads and husbands and have to protect our families’.
“That could have ended up in a very bad situation if there was a confrontation. There could have been too much emotion involved.”
In 2015, Formula One racing driver Jenson Button and his now ex-wife Jessica were burgled in their sleep at a holiday home in St Tropez.
The sports star was staying with friends in the popular holiday destination when thieves broke into the property, making off with valuables worth around £300,000, including Jessica’s engagement ring.
At the time, it was suggested that thieves had pumped gas into the property to keep the couple asleep.
In 2002, fashion experts Trinny Woodall and Susannah Constantine fell victim in Cannes. Thieves are believed to have smothered them with chloroform before stealing jewellery.
Former Arsenal and Manchester City footballer Patrick Vieira had a £40,000 Mercedes and jewellery taken in 2006 after gas was put into the air conditioning of his family’s Cannes home.
Other victims have reported waking up with sore throats and headaches to find that property had been stolen.