Richard Hammond and his family believe they were gassed before being burgled while on holiday in the southeast of France.
The 48-year-old presenter was staying in a villa in Saint-Tropez with his wife Mindy, teenage daughter and a group of friends when they were targeted by thieves.
Describing the experience as a “horror story”, Mindy told the Sunday Express how she almost came face to face with the night-time intruders.
After hearing a door shut downstairs and going down to investigate, she heard a “male voice behind the door”, but went back to bed thinking it was one of the other couples.
It was only later she realised it was the voice of one of the burglars.
“That just makes my blood run cold. I could have easily walked in and it could have been unpleasant,” she said.
It wasn’t until the following day that Mindy began to realise something was wrong, and the 15 guests discovered cash had been taken from their wallets and purses.
The Hammonds’ daughter, Willow, 15, also discovered her watch had been taken.
Explaining the blatant nature of the theft, Mindy said: “I’m pretty convinced we must have been gassed or something, because they were in all of the bedrooms – they went where they wanted, into each room, opening and closing the drawers, searching through handbags etc.”
Mindy said that the perpetrators “have got to have some kind of confidence to do that and to be quite satisfied that people aren’t going to wake up”.
She also said even Richard’s snoring failed to wake her the following morning, when the whole house struggled to get up.
The guests, who woke to discover their bedroom doors wide open, learned that the neighbouring property had also been burgled that same night.
The mother-of-two added: “It’s particularly worrying when you have a teenage girl who knows that her bedside table has been rifled through while she was sleeping – that’s not very nice at all.”
Fearing for their safety, they hired a security guard for the remainder of their stay.
Two burglars, whose faces were caught on CCTV, were arrested less than 48 hours later.
Mindy described one of the men as looking “quite a lot like Richard”.
A string of burglaries in France, allegedly using anaesthetic-based gas to knock-out residents, have taken place in France in recent years.
In 2015 Formula 1 driver Jenson Button and his now ex-wife Jessica had about £300,000 of jewellery stolen while they slept while holidaying in Saint-Tropez. The couple’s spokesman believed gas was pumped into the house.
In separate incidents, ex-Arsenal footballer Patrick Vieira and TV stylists Trinny Woodall and Susannah Constantine also say they fell victim to gassing while staying in Cannes in 2002 and 2006 respectively.