French thieves thwarted by a village's rugby skills
Four thieves who descended on a small French village got more they bargained for when a group of local rugby players sprang into action to block their escape from the ancient fortified hamlet.The group of young players was having a late drink at the bar Bassoues in Gers, southwestern France when locals alerted them to a group of four men trying to break into cars in the street outside.
Taking the law into their own hands, the rugby players shot off in formation, immediately giving chase to the four surprised robbers.
The thieves tried to flee the walled village, but by that stage another 10 villagers had come to the aid of the players.
“Some of them must have thought it was good training for rugby," one witness told French radio RTL.
The manager of Café du Centre in Bassoues, said: “The young villagers jumped up and gave chase to the thieves. They cornered them in the gardens.
The village is walled to the north and south so the thieves couldn’t escape.” Bassoues, population 391, is surrounded by high ancient walls, making it easy to seal off the thieves escape route. For good measure, locals let the air out of the thieves’ car tyres.
“They couldn’t get out of the village, at least not with that car ... It was all over for them” said the café manager.
Cornered, the thieves could only wait until the police finally arrived. It transpired they were known delinquents from a neighbouring village. They have been released pending an investigation.
The incident sparked debate over the closure in France of many local police stations, as Bassouses lost its “commissariat” in August after 100 years of presence.
“It just goes to show that even in a tiny village in the middle of Gers you aren’t completely safe,” said Claude Gatelet, the village mayor.
“I don’t want the population to replace gendarmes as the next time could end badly,” he said.