British crooner Tony Christie was left shaken after his tour bus was attacked by a gang while stopping for fuel near a migrant camp in Dunkirk, France.
The (Is This The Way To) Amarillo singer, 73, had just finished a European tour and was sleeping on the bus with his wife Sue, 68, on their way home to England when the incident occurred. The attack happened in the early hours of Saturday morning (10Dec16) outside a petrol station in the French town.
After a gang distracted the driver of the bus, Christie's tour manager Paul Smith was allegedly threatened with a crowbar by a stowaway who'd sneaked into an equipment trailer.
"The driver was filling up at the station when he was surrounded by about five of them," the musician told Britain's Daily Mail newspaper. "He (the driver) shouted, 'There's cameras everywhere filming you', and they ran off. But then our tour manager found a man hiding with the stage equipment in the trailer."
The stowaway allegedly launched himself at Smith and threatened to kill him with a crowbar he had used to prise open the trailer while the driver was distracted by the other men.
According to editors at the paper, a guitarist from Christie's band broke his wrist in the resulting melee.
The petrol station at which the incident took place is near the Grande-Synthe camp housing refugees and migrants. It’s situated on the route between Dunkirk and Calais.
The frightening altercation came after a party celebrating the final date of his tour in Bonn, Germany on Friday (09Dec16).
Christie recalled, "The band had got together in Bonn and bought a cake for Sue. We had an end-of-tour party on board. There were some beers, nice wine and fizz so it was a nice do. My wife and I left to go to bed and then the next thing we know our tour manager is shaking and so is the coach driver."
As a result of his ordeal, the veteran singer said he is unlikely to go on the road again, and will choose to fly to future concert dates.
"I feel really sorry for these people (migrants), I know they're desperate but we shouldn't be scared to travel I think I will fly from now on, I don't think I'll go on the road again," he said.
A number of celebrities, including Jude Law, Lily Allen and Benedict Cumberbatch, visited refugees fleeing poverty and war in the Middle East and Africa at the Calais Jungle camp before it was demolished in October (16).