By INÊS LOPES [email protected]
A hooded man speaking in Spanish raided the reception of the four star Pestana Alvor Park on Tuesday night last week.
The receptionist was forced to hand over cash from the till to the assailant who pointed a gun at the victim.
Police, who have not disclosed the amount of money stolen, are now investigating the case and have already analysed footage recorded by the hotel’s CCTV system.
The criminal, who acted alone, was wearing a hood and, once in possession of the money, fled the scene on foot. No physical violence was reported.
Since the summer, several Algarve hotels have been targeted by criminal gangs.
This month alone, the Balaia Atlântico in Albufeira and Vale da Pinta Golf in Carvoeiro were raided by gangs who used firearms to shoot at the entrance doors to the establishments.
In November, two masked men seriously injured a security guard with a shotgun to gain access to the reception of the Four Seasons hotel in Vilamoura, while the Oceânico Amendoeira Golf Resort near Silves was targeted by a gang who used a firearm to break into the clubhouse.
In the summer, the Luxembourg football team had their personal possessions stolen by a gang who forced entry into the Hotel Ria Park in Loulé, where they were staying. The team was here to play a friendly against Portugal in August.
A month earlier, five armed men raided INATEL in Albufeira, seriously injuring the receptionist with a gun to get to the hotel coffer.
Meanwhile, tourism leaders in the Algarve continue to express their concerns over a spate of crimes against hotels in the region and demand urgent action by the government.
António Pina, president of the Algarve Tourism Board, says the region needs police reinforcements all year round and is “extremely worried” that an increase in hotel crime could be damaging to the Algarve reputation of being a safe destination.
Elidérico Viegas from the Algarve hotels and resorts association AHETA says the safety of citizens cannot be ignored and the security model used by police forces needs to be “upgraded” as well as the Penal Code which seems to “favour” criminals who often leave the courthouse before police officers themselves.
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