Britons warned of highway robbery in Spain
10:31 24 June 2014
Holidaymakers have been warned that Britons are being targeted by highway thieves on a busy Spanish toll road. More than 120 British drivers have been the victims of sneaky thefts on the AP-7 motorway near Barcelona, said the AA.
Thieves flag cars down and distract occupants while another offender steals their possessions.
One victim was robbed while visiting family near Barcelona, on Spain’s north-east coast. He was driving along the AP-7 north of the Catalan capital at 80mph when another vehicle waved him down after creating a loud noise.
After he stopped to see what the problem was, one man engaged him in animated conversation in Spanish about his rear tyres while his accomplice sneaked out and emptied the glove box.
The tourist realised something was amiss only when the man speaking to him suddenly ran back to his vehicle and dived in through the back window as it sped off.
Rosie Sanderson, of the AA’s international division, said thieves were focusing on stretches of the motorway from airports to resorts.
She encouraged drivers planning to take to the road in Spain to do their research and continue to the next safest place if someone tried to flag them down.
“If you travel at a slow speed, just make sure you’ve got people around you before you stop,” she said.
And she warned that another trick used by the thieves was to stop cars and stab a tyre before pretending to come to the rescue when it goes flat.
A Foreign and Commonwealth Office spokesman said: “It is the beginning of the peak summer season, when many thousands of Britons will be driving foreign-registered or hired vehicles across Spain.
“Distraction techniques can be very effective with honest people who think they are being helped by a good Samaritan –when in fact these criminals are the opposite.
“We want people to be aware, wary and not be caught out.”
Figures for highway robberies have been made available only by police in the Catalonia region but consular assistance has also been provided to British nationals elsewhere in Spain.