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  #1  
Old 8 Jan 2007
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Location: Madrid , Spain
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Robberies in Spain !! Be carefull with your vehicle

Hi all.

Lately we have a wave or thefts and robberies in Spain targetting overland vehicles. The robbers (most of them ussually from eastern europe -not very far from romania - ) target loaded 4x4 vehicles going south (to Africa , that is ). They know that these vehicles carry huge sums of money and expensive equipment (laptops , gps , expensive cameras) ... so they break into as soon as they see one.

Also , -and I have seen that lots of times- foreigners cant' tell easily if an area of a town is good or bad (same as a Spaniard cant tell at first if -say- Brixton is more dangerous than Pimlico ). To my horror I have seen british 4x4s , stopping for a rest or even leaving the car parked in the most horribly dangerous places in Algeciras or Madrid where I woulnd dare to enter in my life.

this one is serious. Never leave your car unnatended in a big city . And the same around petrol stations. Dont' assume that 'cos there are other people thieves are not going to attack . They will.

Also , in the news... some people try to stop a 4x4 by telling him that the tyres are low , or that he is leaking something . As soon as he stops (ussually in a remote highway) another car full of bad-people arrives and the victim is invariantly robbed.Violence included.

so .. in resume :

Avoid stopping or crossing big cities.
Specially avoid Seville if you can .
Never park your car unnatended in a parking . Even if is a private parking.
Lock your car in petrol stations when you go to pay to the cashier.
Never stop to anyone else that a uniformed "guardia civil" (they dress in Green)

well .. hope this helps . If with this post we can avoid even just one incident.. then it will be worth .

happy new year.
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  #2  
Old 8 Jan 2007
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Location: Alt Penedes, Barcelona
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Easier than working

It does happen very often since for some strange reason in Spain (not in Portugal nor France) it's not considered a crime, just a kind of tradition, so if the smart fellow gets caught while performing his (or her) business they get released next day and... back to business. Not like in Nigeria where they immobilized the desgracido with pneumatics and set fire to it. Well... cultural differences.
Take care in your way south.

Javier where the hell are you ?
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  #3  
Old 8 Jan 2007
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Location: Ambleside, Cumbria
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Just to add to this point..

A friend recently got robbed in spain whilst taking a trailer full of motorbikes out for the owners to fly out and tour on.

They were robbed of cash only by bogus cops- how can you tell when your pulled over and shouted at in spanish and got three people onto you?

My mate said that when they contacted the real police that the police told them how it had gone down - so its happening a lot.

If you are pulled by 'police' stop in a busy place- easier said than done, and make sure cash is well hidden, these guys were pretending to look for drugs, saw the cash then distracted my mate and his friend and scored the cash and fled.

Not a pleasant experience, but getting all too common.
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  #4  
Old 10 Jan 2007
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Location: Madrid , Spain
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>>how can you tell when your pulled over and shouted at in spanish and got >>three people onto you?

well , if they shout at you ... they are not policemen. Tha'ts for sure.

but more importantly . We don't have "on foot" policemen on the highways. For every (I mean for each one) policemen you should see ONE police cruiser. If not .. that's a bogus police check

law in Spain is mostly as in UK

You can be pulled over / stopped for just two reasons :

1 a Random Breathalizer test "Control Preventivo de Alcoholemia" , which should be well lit , with at least 4 people , 3 cars , a lab-van and lots of indication . Ussually a tow-recovery truck is also there waiting to fish your car should you be drunk.

2 if you do something GROSSLY wrong . i mean driving obviously pissed , or without lights at night or something similar. Then you can be stopped by any MARKED police-car passing by. Police cars drive in couples (I mean 2 cars for 2 people ) driving ussually half a mile away .

but over here , Police tend to never stop European tourists no matter how big the infraction has been . I carry a UK-reg car and ITs fantastic ! . NEver been done by the police ! .

Also , in Spain every policemen carry a fire-weapon , and in most *serious* controls they got submachineguns and pump-action guns. If you don't see lots of real gun .. then is a bogus police scam.


It has never happened to me , and even never saw it . But it does happen from time to time , specially to European Overland vehicles.


My advice ??? NEVER STOP. Policemen here are never going to shot you. The most they can do is arrange a further road closure down the road to catch you -and they arent going to do it-
If they stop you .;. just wave your hand with a smile and keep on driving .

Have a nice day
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  #5  
Old 12 Jan 2007
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We were pulled over twice in Spain, neither at a breathalyzer check nor for any driving offence. First time was in the Pyrenees by 1 cop with a car, possibly on the lookout for ETA types - quick look in the back and waved on with a smile.

Second time was a we approached a nuclear power station (!) in the middle of nowhere. When they saw my Algerian visa there was a lot of muttering and then a conversation on their radios. Another van was summoned and turned up, then they all huddled around the passport, muttered something, made more radio calls, then let us go whilst giving us sideways glances.

Ever since then I have felt like an international terrorist!

Andrew.
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