By: Natasha Smith
THREE BRITISH people robbed as they changed a tyre on their car last week were the victims of a premeditated attack.
Valerie Oughton, who moved to the Algarve in May 2006, had gone shopping in Spain with two friends, a married couple who asked not to be named. As they were on their way back to Portugal, they stopped at the petrol station at Carrefour, in Cartaya. While the husband paid for the fuel, the women waited in the back seat.
They heard a noise as a man walked past the car and then another man in the shop, where the husband was still waiting to pay, began waving his arms around and shouting loudly.
They thought nothing of this and began their journey back to the Algarve. Ten minutes into their drive, they realised they had a flat tyre so they pulled over on to the side of the road.
Minutes later, a black Seat car, driven by a young woman, pulled over and the passenger, believed to be a Spanish man, asked if they wanted help. When they declined, he began playing with the couple’s dog. They realised he was the man in the shop at the petrol station, who was waving his arms.
Valerie told The Resident she thought she saw the back door of the Seat open, but did not see anyone get out.
After the man left, the trio got back into the car and immediately realised that the two handbags that had been on the floor of the back seat were missing.
They realised then that there must have been three people in the Seat, with the third person hiding in the back. It seems that person left the car while the three friends were distracted and stole the bags.
Valerie Oughton and the couple reported the incident to the local police and cancelled their cards.
Attempts were made to withdraw money from their cards in Huelva, but only one transaction, at a cosmetics store, was accepted. The money will be returned to them as the successful transaction occurred after the police report was made.
The Resident contacted the British Consulate in Malaga, and a spokesperson said: “We are aware of this and it is a problem all over Spain.” Their advice was that if motorists have a puncture, make all attempts to stop in populated areas and make sure valuables are not left in cars.
For more information, visit the travel advice page on the British Embassy website at www.britishembassy.gov.uk
Do you have a view on this story? Email: [email protected]