Jenson Button and his model wife Jessica Michibata were GASSED by burglars who broke into their St Tropez villa and stole her £250,000 diamond engagement ring while they were out cold

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7 August 2015

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-Jenson Button and his wife Jessica Michibata were gassed at French villa

-Couple lay unconscious as burglars rifled through rented St Tropez home

-Criminals took belongings including Jessica’s £250,000 engagement ring

-Police believe gang had been watching the mansion for days before raid  

Jenson Button and his wife Jessica Michibata were gassed at their luxury French villa as robbers looted the house and stole belongings worth £300,000.

The couple – who had been asleep – lay unconscious in bed as the burglars rifled through the rented St Tropez home, taking items including 30-year-old Jessica’s £250,000 engagement ring.

French police believe the gang had been watching the villa for days before letting off a cannister of anaesthetic gas into an air-conditioning vent.

The raiders then broke into the luxury mansion and even walked around the couple’s bed. Three friends who were staying in the rented retreat are also believed to have been rendered unconscious

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Victims: Jenson Button and his wife Jessica Michibata, pictured, were gassed at their luxury French villa 


On holiday: The couple were staying at the property in St Tropez (pictured in file image) with three friends


Precious: Jessica’s £250,000 engagement ring, pictured, was among the belongings stolen in the raid


The group only discovered they had been targeted when they woke up the next morning and found the mansion ransacked and the engagement ring missing.

Button, 35, who won the Formula 1 drivers’ championship in 2009, has a £71million fortune and was ranked as the third richest British sports star in this year’s Sunday Times Sport Rich List.

A source close to the McLaren driver told The Sun: ‘Police have told Jenson they’re convinced the burglars gassed the house using the air conditioning units.

‘Over the past five years, it’s becoming an increasingly common way for top criminals to launch raids on expensive properties in the area without being disturbed.

‘Jenson is convinced that’s what happened too. The burglars were in the same room as him and Jessica, rifling through all their drawers.

Loved-up: Jenson and Japanese-born Jessica married in Hawaii in December last year after meeting in 2008


Terrifying: It is believed that the burglars were in the same room as the Buttons (pictured together in May)


‘But they weren’t disturbed at all because the effects of the gas gives the burglars free reign.

‘It was the same for their three other friends — they were all completely out of it.’

Local police interviewed Button, his friends and his wife and are believed to be continuing their investigation by trying to identify the burglars using CCTV.

The group are understood to have been so shaken by the raid that they left St Tropez hours later.

It is understood French police believe two criminals were working together on the robbery and had been staking out the luxury villa for the couple’s entire holiday.

Last night a spokesman for Jenson, who is reportedly in talks about co-presenting Top Gear with Chris Evans, said: ‘Jenson, Jessica and friends were on holiday in a rented villa.

‘Two men broke into the property whilst they all slept and stole a number of items of jewellery including, most upsettingly, Jessica’s engagement ring.

‘The police have indicated that this has become a growing problem in the region with perpetrators going so far as to gas their proposed victims through the air conditioning units before breaking in.

‘Whilst unharmed, everyone involved is unsurprisingly shaken by the events.’

The loved-up couple married in December last year after meeting in 2008.

A spate of gas attacks on wealthy visitors to the French Riviera has been noted for at least 15 years, including a 2002 attack in Cannes on Trinny Woodall and Susannah Constantine.

The thieves are said to slip through balconies or open windows and direct the sedative into bedroom air-conditioning units.

Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, left, with Button at the Grand Prix in Shanghai in April


Change of pace? The racing driver has been tipped for a new job co-presenting Top Gear with Chris Evans


Disappointing: Last month, Button (above on the track) revealed that his future at McLaren remains uncertain


The gangs wear masks to avoid succumbing to the gas before ransacking their victim’s home and stealing any valuable property.

In 2010, British women Lisa Smyth reported that she and her son were drugged and robbed at the family home in Valbonne, southern France.

French police have previously blamed the activity on Russian or Romanian gangs, who target the conspicuously wealthy.

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