Friday 26 December 2014

Irish most likely to be robbed on holidays in Spain

By Laura Larkin

Published 29/07/2014 | 14:39

COSTA DEL SOL
Costa del Sol.

Irish holidaymakers are more likely to be robbed in Spain than any other tourist destination, according to a new survey.

A new poll by AA Travel Insurance has detailed the habits of thieves abroad and Irish holidaymakers have revealed their stories of falling victim to brazen criminals.

A third of people who had been robbed while on holiday said it happened in Spain.

While pickpocketing was the most common crime reported, some holiday-makers recounted tales of having necklaces snapped from their necks or having items stolen from their hand luggage.

More stories of theft abroad showed a much more carefully planned approach.

A couple driving on holidays had their tyre slashed at a petrol station when they made a pitstop.

When they travelled 2km away the tyre became flat. The culprits' proceeded to pull over posing as good Samaritans before going on to rob the couple in question.

In another example, a woman was using a baby strapped to a fake arm to distract unsuspecting tourists from her free arm, which she used to pickpocket holiday-makers.

A total of 12pc of those surveyed said that they had been pickpocketed while away.

A further one-in-10 said that they had things taken from where they were staying on holiday. Cash, gadgets and bankcards were the most common items to be stolen.

However, not everything taken was valuable. Some people even had chocolate and alcohol stolen while they were away.

And looking like a tourist is what made them a target, according to holidaymakers who were robbed on holidays.

Of the robbery victims, 58pc say they failed to blend in with the locals and standing out as a foreigner probably drew the criminals to prey on them.

"Even when you put 'the invitations' away - such as your dog-eared guide book - it can still be hard to blend in," said Miriam O'Neill, AA Press Officer.

"It's a question of being conscious of your surroundings," Ms O'Neill said.

Happily, almost three-quarters of people reported that they were never mugged while away.

France and Italy followed Spain as the next places where theft was a problem.

Greece and Portugal, also popular destinations for Irish sun-worshipers, had a much lower theft rate than Spain.

Spain is the number one choice for Irish people who want to take in the sun abroad, with over 1.3 million Irish visits to the country each year.

hnews@herald.ie

Evening Herald

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