Spain is top hotspot for Irish tourist robberies

Irish holidaymakers are most likely to be robbed in Spain, while France and Italy are also hotspots for pickpockets.

A poll carried out by AA Travel Insurance of more than 3,000 holidaymakers showed 81 had recently had possessions stolen in Spain, 31 in France, 28 in Italy, and 21 in Britain.

This tallies with recent analysis of Irish flight searches, which identified Barcelona, Paris, Rome, and London as top summer getaway destinations.

More than half questioned believe the reason they were targeted was because they looked like a tourist.

Pickpocketing was identified as the most common occurrence, with a slightly higher number of men robbed than women.

One in six of those pickpocketed fell victim on public transport.

The thieves were mainly after bank cards, gadgets, and passports.

Several people had items taken from their accommodation, which included shoes, toiletries, alcohol, and even chocolate.

Poll participants shared details of a wide range of techniques used by thieves. Some were quick, opportunistic, and brazen, even snapping necklaces from people’s necks, while others stole from carry-on luggage stowed in the overhead compartment of a plane while the owner slept nearby.

Others incidents were more premeditated. Two respondents had their tyre slashed at a petrol station and drove 2km before it became flat. The culprits proceeded to pull over, posing as good Samaritans, before going on to rob the couple in question.

Another person said they were almost robbed by a woman with a baby strapped to a fake arm, leaving her actual hand free to pick pockets.

“Even when you put ‘the invitations’ — such as your dog-eared guide book — away, it can still be hard to blend in with the natives,” said AA press officer Miriam O’Neill.

“It’s a question of being conscious of your surroundings and making you and your belongings as inaccessible as possible. I’d always advise travellers to know what’s covered in their travel insurance too. That way you can at least get the maximum benefit from your cover if thieves do strike.”

AA travel insurance covers customers for up to €350 for reasonable additional travel and accommodation and to obtain an emergency passport abroad.


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