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CRIME

And the burglary capital of France is…?

Rankings have just been released that show where in France, residents are most likely to be burgled. And it's bad news for anyone living in the south of the country. Find out if you stand more of chance of being broken into where you live.

And the burglary capital of France is…?
And the burglary capital of France is...? Photo: Shutterstock

Burglaries have been on the rise in France in recent months, especially in rural areas and now figures have been released that reveal the worst affected towns and cities.

Top of the burglary league table comes the town of Agde, on the Mediterranean coast.

Agde is famous for being the port of the Canal du Midi, as well as for its seaside resort at Cap d’Agde, which is home to one of France’s most well-known nudist beaches.

But after the country’s national crime observatory released its latest stats this week, Agde is now also synonymous with break-ins.

According to the data 18.6 residents per 1,000  are burgled in Agde every year. That puts the town well above the national average of 6.4 break-ins per 1,000 inhabitants.

In second place on the podium of most burgled towns was Aussillon in the Tarn department of southern France and in bronze medal position came Manosque in the Alpes-de-Hautes-Provence.

Overall the observatory said there were 373,000 break-ins in 2013, that reflects a 20 percent increase on the number recorded in 2008.

Half of those break-ins were on main residences, with 44 percent targeting businesses and 6 percent second homes.

Overall it seems the rural south of France is the worst affected with the southern department of Bouches-du-Rhône (10/1000) the most affected , followed by the Drôme (9/1000), the Rhône (8.8/1000), Haute-Garonne, l'Hérault (8.4/1000), Vaucluse (8.2/1000), Alpes-Maritimes and Tarn-et-Garonne (8.1/1000), Isère and Loire-Atlantique (8/1000).

These latest figures come after separate data released in January, showed how burglars were targeting holiday homes in France.

Break-ins at second homes saw a 10 percent rise in towns and a 17 percent hike in rural areas in 2013, according to results from the National observatory of crime and criminal liability (ONDRP).

Here's the top 30 most burgled towns:

  • N°1 Agde
  • N°2 Aussillon
  • N°3 Manosque
  • N°4 Mazamet
  • N°5 Aix-en-Provence
  • N°6 Benerville-sur-Mer
  • N°7 Deauville
  • N°8 Saint-Arnoult
  • N°9 Tourgéville
  • N°10 Trouville-sur-Mer
  • N°11 Blonville-sur-Mer
  • N°12 Touques
  • N°13 Bourg-lès-Valence
  • N°14 Valence
  • N°15 Portes-lès-Valence
  • N°16 Nîmes
  • N°17 Fos-sur-Mer
  • N°18 Martigues
  • N°19 Châteauneuf-les-Martigues
  • N°20 Port-de-Bouc
  • N°21 Carcassonne
  • N°22 Aubagne
  • N°23 La Penne-sur-Huveaune
  • N°24 Vitrolles
  • N°25 Les Pennes-Mirabeau
  • N°26 Cabriès
  • N°27 Avignon
  • N°28 Villeneuve-lès-Avignon
  • N°29 Les Angles (Gard)
  • N°30 Fontaine

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CRIME

French ex-minister convicted in fake jobs scam

A French court on Thursday found former justice minister Michel Mercier guilty of embezzlement in a fake jobs scheme he ran for the benefit of family members.

French ex-minister convicted in fake jobs scam

Mercier, 75, who served under former president Nicolas Sarkozy between 2010 and 2012, claimed tens of thousands of euros for his wife and daughter for parliamentary jobs  they never carried out.

The court handed him a suspended prison sentence of three years.

Mercier gave “personal gain precedence over the public good”, the court said in its verdict, calling Mercier’s actions “serious”.

As senator, Mercier claimed 50,000 euros ($54,000 at today’s rate) in salary for his wife Joelle between 2005 and 2009, and  €37,000 for his daughter Delphine between 2012 and 2014.

During that time, Delphine Mercier was living in London and did not set foot in the French Senate, but her father claimed she was acting as his “cultural advisor”.

Neither Mercier nor his daughter were able to provide any proof of actual work done.

Joelle Mercier, meanwhile, claimed during the trial that she had served as her husband’s representative at village fairs and funerals.

She was found guilty of conspiracy to embezzle public funds and of receiving stolen money and sentenced to a suspended prison term of 18 months and a €40,000 fine.

The court handed the daughter a 12-month suspended sentence and a fine of €10,000.

Prosecutors had asked for the ex-minister to serve one year behind bars, accusing him of “creating smoke screens” in his defence and seeking to mislead the court.

Mercier had based part of his defence on his rural roots, pitting his “common sense” against the “Parisians” of the national financial crimes unit PNF.

Several French politicians have been convicted for similar offences committed before France in 2017 banned National Assembly deputies and senators from employing family members.

The move came in reaction to a public outcry over a high-profile case involving former right-wing prime minister Francois Fillon, who was found guilty of providing a fake parliamentary assistant job to his wife that saw her paid hundreds of thousands of euros in public funds.

The “Penelopegate” scandal, revealed in a media report while he was the front-runner in the 2017 presidential race, torpedoed  his political career and cleared a path for then-relatively unknown Emmanuel Macron.

Last year, a court trimmed Fillon’s sentence to four years in prison with three suspended — down from five years with three suspended when he was first found guilty in 2020.

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