Like me, I'm sure everyone is shocked and saddened by the news of the shooting of the British family in the Alps and even more shocked about the discovery many hours later of the poor little 4 year old girl who survived and will surely be scarred for life by this incident.   We hope that the girl's older sister pulls through and our thoughts are with them both for a recovery both physical and mentally as much as is possible. I can't imagine what they are going through.

My purpose for this post however is to highlight the Foreign Office Advice:

We are aware of an incident near Lake Annecy, which is the subject of a French police investigation. We have no information to suggest that there is a wider threat to UK nationals as a result of this incident. We are continuing to monitor the situation closely. If you are in the area, you should follow the advice of the local authorities.

This advice has been reviewed and reissued with an amendment to the Travel Summary (incident near Lake Annecy). The overall level of the advice has not changed; there are no travel restrictions in place in this travel advice for France.

The reason I feel this needs to be brought to your attention is that some of the UK newspapers are linking the shooting to the 'gangs' targeting foreign tourists in France and even suggesting that the Foreign Office has warned tourists about travel to France & Spain.  These articles are scare-mongering and likely to have a negative effect on both tourism in France and on the families of those of us who live/travel to France regularly as I found out today. 

We're due to travel back home to the South of France tomorrow and the news being passed around in London has been that 'I should check the news about travelling to France because of gang related shootings of tourists' Ignoring that I'm not a tourist but I do have a UK plated car. Should I feel threatened? I don't think so.

Once again quoting the Foreign Office website: Around 19,300,000 British nationals visit France every year (Source: Ministry of Tourism). Most visits are trouble-free.

I am sure the French police will do everything they can & work closely with Surrey Police (that is where the family came from) to discover what happened and to catch whoever did this, but my plea to everyone else out there - especially the Survive France community is not to join in the scaremongering.  It's tragic what has happened but there is NO EVIDENCE at the moment that gangs are targeting British Families in BMWs so I won't be changing my car nor will I let this incident ruin my trip home.  Please don't let these newspaper articles ruin your holiday or that of your family/friends.  France is a beautiful and as safe a country as the UK or other Western countries.  Be vigilant but don't be scared.

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Comment by Suzanne Fitzgerald on September 12, 2012 at 21:28

Thanks Andy - well spotted. I hadn't seen that! So someone reads my blogs then :)

Comment by Zoe Buckley on September 9, 2012 at 1:15

read as much. There are a group (ok, four people) of expats in the area who have been mouthing off about local police all around the lake, and how they feel the police didn't do their job "because the car had a UK reg". 

honestly, I do recall two incidents where gendarmes were reluctant, and in one case, refusing to respond to calls for help because the victims were British.

Still, this is not about anti-Brit racism... the bottom line is, if someone hires a hit-man to take you out... you must have an inkling, and there must be a reason. 

Comment by Andy McNee on September 8, 2012 at 12:54

Hi Suzanne did you know you got a mention on France 24's web site.

Comment by Brian Milne on September 8, 2012 at 10:18

Tracy, fifty percent of the problem is that the likes of the Mail and Torygraph are always looking for weaknesses in other countries to show how hunkydory it is in the UK and Murdoch's lot are obsessed with inflating anything out of all proportion. So, as you say, it puts the 'gang non-news' into perspective but feeds the UK press with 'where else would 13 year old gang members steal cars' possibilities. That's where reality and what the people who believe they are being advised by the government depart one from the other and those people are mislead by fictions.

Comment by timothy willis on September 8, 2012 at 9:44

I think this was a professional hit probably by MOSSAD, and the perpetrators will have scooted over the border to Geneva or into Italy and been on the first flight to Tel Aviv.  I say this as the male victim was involved with

a nuclear programme.  Therefore, this is totally unrelated to gang threats!  TIMOTHY

Comment by Tracy Thurling on September 7, 2012 at 21:46

As an interesting contrast to this terrible event, I would like to tell everyone about the headlines in todays 'Bien Public' for Burgundy.  "13 year old steals car!"  It kind of puts the information that the British Press are putting out into perspective, where else would this make headlines?  Certainly not in a place riddled with gang warfare.

Comment by David Rosemont on September 7, 2012 at 13:05

It's looking increasingly like a family or business score issue, but could it be related to the husband's work? In any event my belief is that a foreigner in Britain is just as likely (i.e. not very likely but possibly) to be involved in problems. A french guy was killed in London not so long ago, and I think a girl somewhere in the UK. I certainly feel generally safer in France, even in Paris, than I do in London for example. On the other hand we were assaulted by gypsies in Moscow, my wife's hadbag was snatched in Paris (in the metro), my sons were both attacked by gangs of muggers in London, armed with weapons (one assailant eventually got 7 years), my house in London was burgled twice, my parent's house in Bermuda three times, my aunt's in Kent once, I was mugged in Amsterdam and involuntarily drugged in Miami. My isolated village in Brittany has seen problems with isolted holiday homes being "done" by esatern Europena gangs. One feels enormously for those two girls. It looks like a very clinical and professional job and it seems that the father was aware that there was a problem. It's going to be a very difficult job to get the person or persons responsible. Some considerable preparation must have been done but one is informed that the holiday was a last minute idea.

Comment by Brian Milne on September 7, 2012 at 10:54

Bravo Suzanne, whatever rumours and rumblings are, the scurrilous press that has yet another reason to knock 'Johnny Foreigner' should be ashamed of themselves.

Comment by Suzanne Fitzgerald on September 7, 2012 at 9:19

Whatever the reason behind this, lunatic or planned job - I really dislike the way the media links it with Gangs and tries to indicate a link before there is any evidence of that. I also dislike the way they try to link it to Foreign Office Advice implying there is more for tourists/expats to worry about than there is. It's pure scare-mongering tactics and it's ridiculous. As more information on this sad story is published then these articles will hopefully slink away until the next time a truly rare event occurs and it they will be pulled out again...

@Caroline - I am sure everyone around you is truly shocked and I do hope more legitimate information comes out soon AND that they catch whoever did this awful act - I know how odd it was when the Russian Banker was shot just down the road from us (literally 5mins) earlier this year - it was immediately known it was a hitman job but it still didn't stop us feeling a bit weird knowing that he had walked down the same road that I use to go to the Dr's with the kids.   I do wonder though if Guns are now like rats - there's always one close by unfortunately.

My thoughts are also with the family of the French cyclist, his wife and children. 

Comment by roderic_ellis on September 7, 2012 at 8:35

In perpesctive let's just cast our minds back to not that long ago, when this type of thing was happening in Northern Ireland and on occasion in mainland Britain we got quite used to it, this one is a bit of a mystery I agree but apart from the sympathy felt will turn out to be nothing to do with us.

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