Friday, February 27, 2015

Be on your guard at the airport

The Coast Rider warns us to watch out for thieves at Alicante Airport car hire collection point.

Apparently, one out of every five British passports stolen in Alicante province are taken at the airport and half of them are taken from vehicles there. A further one in five passports are stolen from cars parked on the road or in car parks.

In a move to try and reduce the risk, the British Consulate and the national police have held discussions with car rental companies and have come up with the following suggestions:

First off, they asked the companies to remove their stickers from the back of cars because that makes them an obvious target. In fact doing so could be beneficial to the companies because one firm claims that, after taking that step, the number of cars with broken windscreens had reduced. If you pick up a hire car and it has a sticker on, the best thing to do is remove it for your own sake.

The advice to customers is as follows:

1.       Never leave personal belongings visible from outside the vehicle
2.       When your vehicle is full of suitcases or other valuables, leave it in a proper car park with security cameras, not on the street
3.       Be extra wary when loading and unloading – keep your valuables close to you
4.       Ignore attempts to distract you when on the road or in a car park - this could be part of a ploy to rob you

Whilst Pam and I do not hire cars from the airport, we do use a company there to park my car whilst we travel to the UK.

Instead of taking the car to a depot and leaving it there, we park up outside of departures where one of the reps meets us to take the car away. We have to be vigilant during the process because apparently thieves wait in that area ready to steal any unattended luggage. With a car parked nearby, they look for any cases and bags that are not being watched, take them and then make a get away in their car.

It isn’t just people using the company we use that fall victim of this ruse, those that are simply dropping off friends and relatives get caught out as well. So often I see people park up, get the luggage out of the boot and then leave it whilst they say their goodbyes. If I can observe this happening, so can the thieves. It is not usually the large luggage that they are after, it is the hand luggage and bags where you would normally keep passports, money and valuables. 

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