One out of five British passports stolen in Alicante province are taken at the airport, and half of them are removed from vehicles there, the British Consulate has warned.
Beyond the airport, a further one out of five British passports are stolen from vehicles on the road or in car parks.
The high level of passport thefts from vehicles are the focus of a new drive by the Consulate and police to reduce the number of Brits who suffer the consequent losses of time and money.
The British Consulate last week met car hire companies at Alicante airport and the national police to discuss ways to reduce the number of British nationals who fall victim to passport robbery when they collect their hire cars.
The Consulate asked car hire companies to remove stickers from the back of cars as this makes them an obvious target for thieves. One company revealed that since removing stickers from its cars, the number of broken windscreens had reduced greatly.
The car hire companies said they will issue new advice to customers:
- Never leave personal belongings visible from outside the vehicle
- When your vehicle is full of suitcases or other valuables, leave it in a proper car park with security cameras, not on the street
- Be extra wary when loading and unloading – keep your valuables close to you
- Ignore attempts to distract you when on the road or in a car park - they could be part of a ploy to rob you
The police promised more patrols at the car hire collection point and closer working with car hire companies. They also urged car hire companies to publicise the telephone number 902 102 112 for tourists to report a crime in English if they do fall victim.
Watch a video on how to avoid becoming a victim of roadside robbery