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CRIME

Man ‘killed sons then hanged himself after row’

A man and his two children were found dead in a home in the small town of Fouesnant, Brittany, on Sunday.

The man, 35, had hanged himself in the family home early Sunday morning.  It is thought the two children, an 18-month-old girl and a four-year-old boy, also died by hanging.

The man’s father found the bodies at about 8am yesterday.

The children’s mother was found by police towards midday in Quimper, a town 20 km from Fouesnant. She told the authorities she had left home the night before after an argument with her husband.

Eric Tuffery, the district attorney of Quimper, said: “It seems the two children were hanged. We do not know yet if they were sleeping before.”

The three bodies are due for autopsy in Brest today or tomorrow.

Tuffery is treating the case as a double homicide and suicide following a conjugal separation.

A neighbour told local paper Ouest-France: “Things were not running smoothly (between the husband and wife). They had argued several timhes before.

“And she (the mother) wasn’t there last night. He must have just lost it.”

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CRIME

French police launch new service to keep empty homes secure

Leaving your property empty puts it at risk of burglars or squatters and this is a particular worry for second-home owners, whose homes are often vacant for prolonged periods.

French police launch new service to keep empty homes secure

French police run a scheme called Opération Tranquillité Vacances which involves householders telling their local police that they will be away, so they can keep an eye on the property.

The scheme has run in various forms since 1974, but now an online platform has been set up allowing property owners to make their declaration in just a few clicks.

It’s largely targeted at French people who are going away over the summer and leaving their homes empty, but it’s not limited to French nationals and can be used all year around.

Under the scheme, householders and businesses can ask their local gendarmes to keep a watch over their properties while they are away for a period of up to three months.

READ ALSO How to get rid of squatters from your French property

Police and gendarmes patrols visit houses on their list at various times during the day or night, checking shutters, gates, and back gardens to make sure all is as it should be – and to act as a deterrent to any criminal groups checking the area.

The new online service is not limited to French nationals or French residents, but it does require a FranceConnect account to operate, meaning that you need to be registered in at least one French database (eg the tax office, benefits office or in the health system).

The form can be used to cover both main residences and second homes (résidence secondaire) but there is a limit of three months at a time for the property to be vacant.

You can find the form HERE and it can be completed between three and 45 days before your departure.

You can also register in person at your nearest police station or gendarmerie unit. Take ID and proof of address, such as a recent utility bill, if you do it this way.

Summertime is high-season for criminals in France, who target homes that have been left vacant while their owners are away on holiday.

Opération Tranquillité Vacances was introduced in 1974 as a means to keep crime rates down during the summer holiday period. It was extended to include other school holidays in 2009, and is now available all year round.

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