Respiratory experts have cast doubt on claims that there have been a spate of gas attacks on HGV drivers in the UK, saying they are “a myth”.
The Royal College of Anaesthetists (RCA) told CM it stood by its statement released in 2014 that it is not possible to render someone unconscious by blowing an anaesthetic agent into their cab, even if they are sleeping at the time.
The college spoke out after the RHA said it was concerned about reports that criminals are gassing lorry drivers before stealing goods from their trucks, an issue.
It referred to a recent incident in the West Midlands in which a driver woke up the next morning to discover thieves had slashed his vehicle’s curtain and stolen thousands of pounds worth of cargo.
The RHA said he had been gassed in his sleep and was taken to hospital for tests. It also said there had been similar incidents in South Yorkshire.
But an RCA spokesman said its position on gassings remained unchanged.
“Even the more powerful modern volatile agents would need to be delivered in tankerloads of carrier gas by a large compressor.
“If there was a totally safe, odourless, potent, cheap anaesthetic agent available to thieves for this purpose it is likely the medical profession would know about it and be investigating its use in anaesthetic practice,” he said.
West Midlands Police confirmed it was investigating a report of theft from an HGV parked in Longmore Avenue in the Bentley area of Walsall.
A spokeswoman said: “Although the victim reported feeling unwell and the company feared he may have been gassed, paramedics sent to the scene did not identify any respiratory problems.
“The man was taken to hospital as a precaution after officers attended the scene and confirmed there were no signs of gas being used.”
South Yorkshire Police said it had no reports of any alleged gas attacks.