• France's news in English

Owner abandons car park after gangs take over

Matthew Warren · 4 Aug 2011, 07:44

Published: 04 Aug 2011 10:28 GMT+02:00
Updated: 04 Aug 2011 07:44 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

A car park in Marseille has been overrun by gangs of youths who threaten staff and demand money from drivers. Things have got so bad that the company in charge, Vinci, has given up trying to run it.

The car park, known as the Parking Jules Guesda, is situated in Porte d'Aix, a well-known trouble spot in Marseille.

Local newspaper La Provence reports that the problem started in late 2010 when a group of youths started arriving after the car park's staff went home. 

They would demand payment of €5 from drivers as they tried to leave the car park, only lifting the barrier when money had been handed over.

Since then reports of violence and intimidation have worsened. Automatic payment machines have frequently been set on fire. Drivers have been mugged while heading to their cars. Other criminals have moved in and conditions in the car park have deteriorated.

La Provence quotes Alain Dulion who said he was mugged close to his car. "I had been clothes shopping when someone came up behind me and grabbed my gold chain." Alain even tried to take advantage of the services of the gang running the car park, by asking one of the men lifting the barrier to find his attacker. "I offered him €500 if he could find the thief," he said, although he has not had any success.

Vinci claims to have registered "20 complaints" to the city authorities. The company told the newspaper that "no-one did anything … we are a company that runs car parks, not a law enforcement agency"

"There are lots of dangerous people in this area," the area's mayor, Lisette Narducci, told La Provence. "I'm very worried. Things are getting worse and I'm ashamed to think this is France's second city. If the city authorities don't do anything, things will never get better."

Newspaper Le Figaro reported a spokesman for the city authorities, Eugène Caselli, sa saying the situation had become "impossible." On Wednesday, he announced that security would be stepped up in an effort to regain control of the car park again by the start of September.


Matthew Warren (news.france@thelocal.com)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
How speaking French can really mess up your English
Photo: CollegeDegree360/Flickr

So you've mastered French, but now it's time to learn English all over again.

French claims that Jungle camp is empty are rubbished
Photo: AFP

Reports from the scene say scores of migrants are still in the area of the Jungle despite French authorities claiming "mission fulfilled."

Kidnapped Riviera millionaire left tied up in car boot in Nice
Photo: AFP

Head of luxury Cannes hotel has been found alive after being kidnapped in Nice on Monday.

Paris landlords still charging illegally high rents
Photo: Panoramas/Flickr

... and it's tenants in the smaller apartments that get hit the hardest. Could you be paying too much?

France takes baby steps to make life simpler
Photo: AFP

... including extending the ridiculously short time limit for registering a new baby.

IN PICTURES: Calais Jungle camp goes up in flames
All Photos: AFP

Migrants leave behind a scorched camp as they are moved to locations across France.

French expats in UK suffer Brexit abuse
French ambassador to the UK Sylvie Bermann with Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson. Photo: AFP

French nationals no longer feel at home in the UK, ambassador says. But Brits in France have been greeted with sympathy since the referendum.

Six to go on trial in France over topless Kate photos
Photo: AFP

The topless pics sparked fury among the royals.

France sees biggest drop in jobless rate for 20 years
Photo: AFP

Good news at last. But it's unlikely to keep President Fran├žois Hollande in his job.

Calais migrants given mixed reception in French towns
Photo: AFP

Some in France have shown solidarity with their new guests, while others have made it clear they are not welcome.

The annoying questions only a half French, half Brit can answer
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Forget Brangelina's chateau - here are nine others you've got to see
The must-see French films of the millennium - Part One
How life for expats in France has changed over the years
Why Toulouse is THE place to be in France right now
Video: New homage to Paris shows the 'real side' of city
The 'most dangerous' animals you can find in France
Swap London fogs for Paris frogs: France woos the Brits
Anger after presenter kisses woman's breasts on live TV
Is France finally set for a cold winter this year?
IN PICS: The story of the 'ghost Metro stations' of Paris
How to make France's 'most-loved' dish: Magret de Canard
Welcome to the flipside: 'I'm not living the dream in France'
Do the French really still eat frogs' legs?
French 'delicacies' foreigners really find hard to stomach
French are the 'world's most pessimistic' about the future
Why the French should not be gloomy about the future
This is the most useful French lesson you will ever have. How to get angry
Why is there a giant clitoris in a field in southern France?
French pastry wars: Pain au chocolat versus chocolatine
Countdown: The ten dishes the French love the most
Expats or immigrants in France: Is there a difference?
How the French reinvented dozens of English words
jobs available