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Don't get robbed

johntowers46

johntowers46

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Easy answer. Don't go to Spain or avoid that motorway.
We have been to Spain several times and had no problems
 
Velma's Dad

Velma's Dad

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Unlike various unsubstantiated reports of rime in various parts of Europe (and let's not get onto gassing!) the fact that UK FCO travel advice for Spain details both these threats - bogus police officers and distraction robberies - means they won't be just be one-offs but based on credible actual reports. So worth being aware of these threats, to reduce likelihood of a ruined holiday..
 
Barbara

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Easy answer. Don't go to Spain or avoid that motorway.
We have been to Spain several times and had no problems
Easy answer. Don't go to Spain or avoid that motorway.
We have been to Spain several times and had no problems
I agree that Driving in Spain is normally is no problem - I have driving there for some 30 years and I love it.

However I was driving from Valencia on the AP7 just after my mother died in hospital in Valencia. I was possibly not as aware as I would normally have been. We stopped at a motorway service area to phone our relatives. Our tyre was slashed. We left the service area (now I always look at my tyres as I leave) and when on the motorway 2 cars passed us trying to flag us down indicating that we had a flat tyre.

Lucky we were aware of this scam and as I had previously had a tyre blow out on this car I was aware of how it handled. We did not stop. We went off at the next junction and the tyre deflated on a roundabout. We changed it ourselves and were away from anyone trying to "help us". We were lucky because we knew our car, the area and the possibility of "someone pretending to help".

Unfortunately it was a new tyre so it did cost us to buy another one but we avoided being robbed. My mother's wedding and engagement ring were in my bag and to lose them would have been worse than any money.

I am not posting this to put off people driving in Spain but to raise the awareness than one slip of concentration can be inconvenient and expensive. I unfortunately also met a couple in France with a large camper-van who had had a bag stolen with their passports in it. It was about to ruin their holiday as they were unsure what to do.

It is good to see that the police are trying to stop these people but the perpetrators generally do not use Spanish cars so there is little chance of tracing them.

If this post just stops one person being robbed I will be happy that I have raise the awareness as I was not robbed because I was aware of the scam.
 
hotel california

hotel california

18 'till i die....
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Same story pops up every now and then , don't belive everything they write in papers/website .
You can always camp in your own garden if it feels safer , to not leave your driveway ;)
 
Velma's Dad

Velma's Dad

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Same story pops up every now and then , don't belive everything they write in papers/website .
I agree that non-authenticated reports in media (traditional and social) certainly shouldn't be assumed to be reliable, on their own. But there is info that's easily available via the internet that is of high quality and deals in facts, not rumours.

I said above, the UK government's global travel advice website, managed by Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), is a good example which I've found reliable and very useful for many parts of the world and it triangulates well, even if not always precisely, with proprietary sources like Control Risks.

Another very good one, better in some ways than FCO, is the Australian government's - www.smartraveller.gov.au. And to the case in point, it currently mentions specifically the prevalent targeting of foreign-plated cars for distraction robberies along the Med coast routes both in Spain and southern France.

If you choose to travel anywhere in the world without taking two minutes to check the readily available safety/security information to make you aware of the local context and any prevalent crime threats/scams, that's a personal choice of course. Sorry, I sound like I'm talking to my kids... :embarrased
 
Auberg-ine

Auberg-ine

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I can from my very own experience testimony this:
Luckily it's the only bad experience I had, after decades of driving in (mostly Northern) Spain.
I have a local car with a Belgium numberplate. Sometimes I think about taking on a Spanish registration, to avoid this 'target' sign. The advantage on the other side is that I noticed over the years that in regular traffic control the police often let me pass when they notice my plate, avoiding the language fuzz it brings them. Or was I just always lucky?

(edit: just a side question: as my car stays there the whole year, I take the initiative to go to a local technical control each year, of which I get reports. Anybody aware of the 'legal' status of this towards insurance companies?)
 
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WelshGas

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I can from my very own experience testimony this:
Luckily it's the only bad experience I had, after decades of driving in (mostly Northern) Spain.
I have a local car with a Belgium numberplate. Sometimes I think about taking on a Spanish registration, to avoid this 'target' sign. The advantage on the other side is that I noticed over the years that in regular traffic control the police often let me pass when they notice my plate, avoiding the language fuzz it brings them. Or was I just always lucky?

(edit: just a side question: as my car stays there the whole year, I take the initiative to go to a local technical control each year, of which I get reports. Anybody aware of the 'legal' status of this towards insurance companies?)
As far as I am aware in the U.K. the Annual MOT, Safety Check and Emissions, must be current or Insurance is Void. That means the vehicle must be returned to U.K. for its MOT.
 
Velma's Dad

Velma's Dad

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As far as I am aware in the U.K. the Annual MOT, Safety Check and Emissions, must be current or Insurance is Void. That means the vehicle must be returned to U.K. for its MOT.
No, that's not correct, in the UK anyway - but there is massive fake news out on the web about this, or at least a lot of lazy or misinformed journalism.

Not having a current MOT certificate is not of itself grounds for an insurer to refuse a claim, whatever insurers themselves or the people they pay to place articles in the motoring press may say or imply. I believe this has been demonstrated in rulings by the Financial Ombudsman. A car can be in roadworthy condition without an MOT certificate and the MOT only proves that the vehicle was roadworthy on the day of the test.

In any case, the insurer is, in the broadest sense, obliged to provide the Road Traffic Act third-party cover that you have paid for, regardless of how stupid/negligent you have been (there are a few things that can change that, and that can include the condition of the vehicle), unless the insurer had cancelled your policy prior to the accident or police stop. Unless that had already happened, you couldn't realistically be successfully prosecuted for driving uninsured as you would be able to produce documents to show that you had an insurance certificate at the time of the accident or stop (the onus is on the defendant to show, on balance or probabilities, that they had insurance in place at the time).

But if (for example) you caused an accident by driving on defective brakes, you might well find it a bit of a challenge getting the insurer to reimburse your own repair costs. If you'd been really reckless (eg driven on bald tyres and hit someone) they might even try to recover under breach of contract the third party costs from you that they had paid out. But I don't know how often that actually happens.

The fact that driving on UK roads without an MOT is a (non-endorseable) offence is a separate matter.

The above is not legal advice but I am pretty confident of my facts on this.
 
Last edited:
BerndRos

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I can from my very own experience testimony this:
Luckily it's the only bad experience I had, after decades of driving in (mostly Northern) Spain.
I have a local car with a Belgium numberplate. Sometimes I think about taking on a Spanish registration, to avoid this 'target' sign. The advantage on the other side is that I noticed over the years that in regular traffic control the police often let me pass when they notice my plate, avoiding the language fuzz it brings them. Or was I just always lucky?

(edit: just a side question: as my car stays there the whole year, I take the initiative to go to a local technical control each year, of which I get reports. Anybody aware of the 'legal' status of this towards insurance companies?)
Am afraid it will mean nothing, bring you no brownie points and possible land you in trouble.

As you likely know 6 months is the maximum you should keep the car in Spain, before you take it out of the country or matriculate onto Spanish plates. They could ask why you have the tech inspection in Spain ?

In the UK an MOT only confirms the car was ok on the day of the MOT. If a crash occurs the insurance company may well inspect to ensure the vehicle was roadworthy. Same in Spain etc.

You are I guess aware of the reputable insurance firms based in Gibraltar who will offer insurance even if your vehicle is SORN and with no UK road tax. They will however inspect for road worthiness if you have a crash.

I keep my Cali UK legal but have another UK car out here in Portugal (which is admired and high profile) , on the above basis. I and many others have never been challenged by the police.

Mind you, I have just had my hand shaken by the local policeman whose wife works at the ‘grill’ where I have just had lunch, maybe that helps.
 
BerndRos

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AP7....Yes, be careful of this road, it’s reputation is warranted.

As a person who has travelled here and there & slept here and there in my Cali over the years, all over Europe, Tunisia & Morocco, All over Turkey etc....I always remember what a seasoned traveler advised many years ago....beware the motorway from south of Barcelona through to Marseille. My senses are always on high alert over this stretch of road.
 
WelshGas

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No, that's not correct, in the UK anyway - but there is massive fake news out on the web about this, or at least a lot of lazy or misinformed journalism.

Not having a current MOT certificate is not of itself grounds for an insurer to refuse a claim, whatever insurers themselves or the people they pay to place articles in the motoring press may say or imply. I believe this has been demonstrated in rulings by the Financial Ombudsman. A car can be in roadworthy condition without an MOT certificate and the MOT only proves that the vehicle was roadworthy on the day of the test.

In any case, the insurer is, in the broadest sense, obliged to provide the Road Traffic Act third-party cover that you have paid for, regardless of how stupid/negligent you have been (there are a few things that can change that, and that can include the condition of the vehicle), unless the insurer had cancelled your policy prior to the accident or police stop. Unless that had already happened, you couldn't realistically be successfully prosecuted for driving uninsured as you would be able to produce documents to show that you had an insurance certificate at the time of the accident or stop (the onus is on the defendant to show, on balance or probabilities, that they had insurance in place at the time).

But if (for example) you caused an accident by driving on defective brakes, you might well find it a bit of a challenge getting the insurer to reimburse your own repair costs. If you'd been really reckless (eg driven on bald tyres and hit someone) they might even try to recover under breach of contract the third party costs from you that they had paid out. But I don't know how often that actually happens.

The fact that driving on UK roads without an MOT is a (non-endorseable) offence is a separate matter.

The above is not legal advice but I am pretty confident of my facts on this.
I don't think I would take the chance anyway and certainly not for a foreign claim.
 
Velma's Dad

Velma's Dad

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Buckinghamshire
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I don't think I would take the chance anyway and certainly not for a foreign claim.
Yes agreed, very much.

(The UK situation was top of mind for me because I just had a discussion this morning with someone about the need (or not) to have my classic car MOT'd. It's no longer required in UK by law for 40+ year old cars - although actually I do still get one done.)
 
vmaxkiddy

vmaxkiddy

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Velma's Dad

Velma's Dad

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If you’re really worried by the gassing stories, I will sell you one of those alarms. I’m doing a special this week: £650.
 
Barbara

Barbara

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115
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T5 Beach
I can from my very own experience testimony this:
Luckily it's the only bad experience I had, after decades of driving in (mostly Northern) Spain.
I have a local car with a Belgium numberplate. Sometimes I think about taking on a Spanish registration, to avoid this 'target' sign. The advantage on the other side is that I noticed over the years that in regular traffic control the police often let me pass when they notice my plate, avoiding the language fuzz it brings them. Or was I just always lucky?

(edit: just a side question: as my car stays there the whole year, I take the initiative to go to a local technical control each year, of which I get reports. Anybody aware of the 'legal' status of this towards insurance companies?)
Having a non Spanish vehicle does not stop you being stopped by the police. I was asked to pull over in Madrid in my Cali. No idea why and after they spent sometime inspecting my documents and on the phone I was told all was OK. The only think I can think was that a California is a vehicle that may be stolen they were checking I was the owner.

I have also observed that I do not get stopped when there is a regular traffic control set up I think they may be checking that the Spanish cars have the equivalent to MOT. I once stopped at one of these checks when they did bot ask me to but I wanted information from them. There were no other cars about so I did not cause a problem and they very helpfully and told me where the nearest good restaurant was. Spanish police seen to be always very helpful, I was very grateful to the ones in Granada who stopped all the traffic for me to do a U-turn when I ashed then for directions to a hotel.
 

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