Jenson Button and Jessica Michibata
Jenson Button and Jessica Michibata were robbed while on holiday in St Tropez

Jenson Button and his wife Jessica Michibata were gassed as burglars raided their luxury French villa while they slept.

The couple were staying in a rented holiday villa in the south of France with three of their friends who were also asleep in other rooms.

The criminals are believed to have pumped anaesthetic gas into the rented property in Saint Tropez, before stealing more than £300,000 worth of belongings, including Jessica's £250,000 engagement ring. The couple only realised they had been targeted when they woke in the morning to find the holiday accommodation had been ransacked.

A spokesman for Button told The Sun: "Two men broke into the property whilst they all slept and stole a number of items of jewellery including, most upsettingly, Jessica's engagement ring.

"The police have indicated that this has become a growing problem in the region with perpetrators going so far as to gas their proposed victims through the air conditioning units before breaking in.

"Whilst unharmed, everyone involved is unsurprisingly shaken by the events."

A source close to the 35-year-old racing driver told The Sun: "Police have told Jenson they're convinced the burglars gassed the house using the air conditioning units.

"Over the past five years it's becoming an increasingly common way for top criminals to launch raids on expensive properties in the area without being disturbed.

"Jenson is convinced that's what happened too. The burglars were in the same room as him and Jessica, rifling through all their drawers. But they weren't disturbed at all because the effects of the gas gives the burglars free reign.

"It was the same for their three other friends — they were all completely out of it. The first they were aware was when they woke up groggy the next morning and realised the house had been turned upside down.

"It was a terrifying experience for them to know these criminals were actually in the room with them. The police believe there were two criminals working together on the operation," an insider told the newspaper.

"They were scoping out the property for the days before the raid and looking at the times Jenson and the others were coming and going from the house.

"What's particularly terrifying for Jenson is that there were a couple of nights where the lads stayed out later and it was the girls left at the house alone.

"But police think it's likely the robbers only went ahead with the plan when they knew everyone at the house was fast asleep

Jenson and his wife Jessica were understandably shaken by the incident and left the property that morning.

Local police interviewed Button, his friends and his wife and are trying to identify the burglars using CCTV.

The 2009 world champion tied the knot with Jessica last December in Hawaii. They first met in Tokyo in 2008. They split in 2011 but reunited just six months later.