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BBC/Spanish Consulate admit thieves on AP7

mike 202

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Although this subject has been discussed on this forum. The problem of being mugged/stopped by Bandits on the AP7 from France to Barcelona and beyond now seems to have escalated enough for the BBC to point viewers to the British consulate warnings to travellers. Yes I know that this warning has always been there but the BBC this morning interviewed and asked, two travel advisors, regular visitors to Barcelona, to describe how they were stopped and robbed. These advisors did admit that documents/handbags cameras passports etc were on the rear seat of their car. The BBC also showed the U-tube video of a robbery taking place.

So it seems that even the well prepared can get caught out.

Worth repeating is that if eggs are thrown at your windscreen, then under NO circumstances operate the wipers/washers as the egg goes milky, obliterates any view that you have and you are then forced to stop. This then becomes one nil to the Bandits.


Off to France/Spain in 4 weeks, avoiding the AP7 and using the Viehla tunnel.



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The British Consulate in Madrid had 140 reported cases last year. This year the figure is up 10% in the first quarter. All the cases reported last year was because the victims had had their passports stolen. The theft's are being blamed on the problems with the Spanish economy. As the main holiday season gets into full swing, they are expecting a large increase in robberies.


Doesn't need to much working out, does it.



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About time! These robberies have been going on for years. I was the subject of one such attack in 2006 but I didn't stop and that must be the golden rule. Whatever happens don't engage in conversation with anyone on a motorway service area and don't stop if you hear a loud thud as that will be a "robber" attempting to get you to pull over signalling that there is a problem with your vehicle.
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No crime is good.


But I think it is important to keep this risk in context.

There were 140 reported incidents last year. In a whole year.


There were 12,000,000 visitors to Spain from the UK alone last year.

And Lord knows how many more tens of millions of visitors also from France, and from Germany, and from the Netherlands, and from Scandinavia, etc etc.


It's an incredibly rare event. It's horrible. But it's incredibly rare.



Just be careful on the France-down past-Barcelona stretch of the A7/AP7 motorway, apply common sense, do not stop if waved down by an unmarked car, keep your valuables out of sight; and thus just ENJOY your holiday.





Another tip that we heard from the Spanish press is to keep your mobile phone handy in your car/ MH ( as almost all have a camera function nowadays).

In the incredibly unlikely event that anyone does start to "buzz" you whilst you are driving, get the passenger to take as many photos, very obviously, of that other car, it's numberplate, and it's occupants on your phone as possible.

Then use it to call 112 (assuming you speak Spanish) to report the harassment before anything else happens.

The Police say that the would be bag-snatchers won't carry on the attempt once they know that they and their car have been photographed....they speed away once they've been sussed.

I guess the same tip would apply in any other country if there was any hint of road rage or other similar incident.



We had a a similar "incident" when coming South along the National road in that region only a couple of months ago:

A guy driving a silver 4x4 car came up behind us, started flashing his lights, then overtook and waved us down.

I ignored him, whilst Kathy started taking photos of him as he repeated this attempt to wave us down a couple more times.

Eventually we came to a roundabout with a queue wating to enter it, so stopped in that queue, he was two cars behind, but he got out and came up to the drivers side window of out MH, waving.

I'm a big lad, and I can handle myself, but I still kept the window up and shouted at him through the glass. (All our doors are locked when we are travelling anyway)

Turned out he was a Spanish fellow-Motorhomer, and he was trying to warn us that we had left a bag/handbag on the seat of our scooter that was on the rack on the back of the vehicle.

(It was actually a bib-bag wrapped around the gel-pad that is strapped to the passenger part of the seat so that Kathy doesn't get " numb-bum" after a long ride on it.

In this case it was a local Spanish chap who was desperately trying to alert us before what he thought was a bag of something was lost by us.


So, the only such experience we've personally ever had, in all the ten years living here in Spain, and travelling that stretch of road half a dozen times a year or more, was actually from a Spanish man trying to help us, not from a would-be bag-snatcher.

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Bruce quoted


"There were 12,000,000 visitors to Spain from the UK alone last year. "


Yes but out of the 12,000,000 bet most of them arrived by plane, a bit difficult to wave them down on the AP7.


I agree that these incidents may be rare as a %age but one incident can ruin some peoples lives for ever and thay may well give up our great lifestyle. I do however listen/read bruce's comments and appreciate the good advice and perspective that he places on life in Spain.



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Please keep it in perspective. The AP7 and A7 run the full length of Spain down the east coast. I suspect the majority of these 'events' happen near the big cities of Barcelona and a few others. It is also not an uncommon thing to happen near Marseille in France so as mentioned.....take all care and do not travel when thieves are likely to be about, like evenings or whatever. The vast majority of Spaniards are as law abiding as anyone else, but they do have a large immigrant population (don't we all) and these people have no scruples.
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