Jenson Button burglary: Experts cast doubt on claims F1 star was gassed with anaesthetic

The Royal College of Anesthetists has repeatedly warned against inaccurate reports

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The Independent Online

Experts have thrown doubt over claims Formula One driver Jenson Button and his wife Jessica were gassed with anaesthetic during a burglary at their luxury French Riviera villa.

The Sun has reported that gas was pumped into their home through the air conditioning system, leaving them unconscious while thieves stole items including a £250,000 engagement ring.

However, so far, the only official comment has come from Button's rep, who made no mention of the methods involved in their specific case, only noting that air vent gassing was familiar to police in the region.

"While unharmed, everyone involved is unsurprisingly shaken by the events," his spokesperson said.

The Royal College of Anesthetists has repeatedly warned that such stories may be inaccurate, telling The Telegraph that robbers would need "a truckload of gas" that would be "phenomenally expensive" and easy to detect by its smell.

Jenson Button's wife Jessica had her engagement ring stolen

Last year, the College issued the following statement: "Despite the increasing numbers of reports of people being gassed in motor-homes or commercial trucks in France, and the warning put out by the Foreign Office for travelers to be aware of this danger, this College remains of the view that this is a myth.

"It is the view of the College that it would not be possible to render someone unconscious by blowing ether, chloroform or any of the currently used volatile anaesthetic agents, through the window of a motor-home without their knowledge, even if they were sleeping at the time.

"If there was a totally safe, odourless, potent, cheap anesthetic agent available to thieves for this purpose it is likely the medical profession would know about it and be investigating its use in anaesthetic practice."


TV presenters Trinny Woodall and Susannah Constantine were victims of a gas burglary in Cannes in 2002, when thieves are thought to have smothered them with chloroform-soaked pads before raiding their belongings, while French footballer Patrick Vieira and his family were attacked in 2006 with sedatives pumped through his property's air vents.

French police have previously suspected Russian and Romanian criminal gangs as being behind the incidents, which often target wealthy tourists.