THE FOREIGN Office has released real-life footage of drivers of foreign-registered vehicles being robbed at the roadside by gangs of thieves.
By pretending there is something wrong with their vehicle, the thieves are able to distract the foreign travellers while accomplices rob them of valuables including cash and passports.
British consulates across mainland Spain say they are receiving regular reports of roadside robberies along the coast between Barcelona and Alicante, across Andalucia in the south and in the Madrid region.
Staff report that one in 20 of all emergency passports issued last year as a result of theft, was following a motorway robbery.
Police in the Catalonia region of Spain have dealt with 126 British victims of robbery on the AP7 motorway between the French border and the Valencia region in the past two years.
In a bid to help UK motorists, the Foreign Office has released a video showing real-life robberies featuring some of the thieves’ most common tactics.
In the first film, the highway robbers flag down their victim by indicating there is a problem with their vehicle. A classic distraction robbery then takes place. In the second film, the robber tricks a victim into thinking they have a problem with their parked vehicle, while another opens the door and removes valuables.
While such crimes are rarely violent they are, says the Foreign Office, distressing and costly. A typical family of four would need to pay around £400 for emergency passports to get home.
How to avoid letting highway robbers ruin your holiday
- Be wary of people flagging you down
- If you have a problem with your vehicle, call your emergency breakdown service
- Keep valuables out of sight and out of reach
When you stop
- Park your vehicle in sight
- Take your valuables with you
- Watch out for tampering