A couple who fear they were gassed by crooks as they slept in their motor home were left stranded abroad for two weeks after they lost everything.

Mervyn Bryant and his wife Kirsty’s holiday in the south of France in their campervan became a summer helliday when they woke up to find they had been robbed.

With no keys, money or passport, Mr Bryant said the pair had to spend two weeks in the country relying on the good will of others before they could safely make the trip back home.

Mr Bryant, of Kingston Lane, Southwick, revealed his story at a recent Meet Your Argus event in Pavilion Gardens, Brighton,

He said they were burgled at a service station about 12 miles north of Avignon on
the main auto route.

Mr Bryant said: “Amazingly I didn’t know anything had been taken until I started moving around the motor home.

“It was only when we spoke to other campers that we were told about crooks moving around the south of France and gassing people while they sleep before they take their things.”

He added: “Friends and family are aghast. Most of the people we tell here are just gobsmacked.

“But it has not put us off. I would go again tomorrow if I could but what I will do is make sure I take precautions, like seal over the cracks in the side of the vehicle, keep my possessions with me when I sleep and tie some string to the doors so they can’t be opened.”

Thieves took 800 euros, £40, his passport and the keys to the motor home.

Mr Bryant said: “We were marooned at the service station.

“We called the autoroute police but they weren’t interested, they just wanted to get the vehicle towed to the garage.”

With no keys, they had to wait two weeks for a new lock to be fitted to the motor home.

Luckily owners of a camp site in Remoulins, near Nimes, let them stay for two
weeks and pay when they eventually returned home on October 12.

After a spate of similar incidents in 2007, a spokesman for the Foreign Office said: “This isn’t a new type of incident.

“We've had calls about this in the past and we warn against this type of crime.”