How to avoid Spain’s pickpockets: Foreign Office teams up with magician


THE British Foreign Office has launched a new series of videos aiming to advise expats, and the millions of Brits who’ll head to Spain on holiday this year, of how best to avoid the plague of passport pickpockets.
They’ve recruited a security expert with a magic touch, James Freedman, a slight of hand magician known as the ‘Man of Steal’ who’s advised on a number of TV shows and films including BBC drama Hustle, to help train tourists in how to protect their pockets.
According to the British Embassy, of the 15 million British holidaymakers who travelled to Spain in 2014, more than 3,000 reported their passport stolen and 1,800 reported theirs lost.
Freedman’s films show the techniques used by passport thieves, and offers advice on how to avoid them.
He says: “Pickpockets and thieves constantly evolve their techniques and tactics. These videos show just a handful of ways that a pickpocket might attempt to steal from you, so remember some basic advice to stay safe.
“If you don’t need to take your passport with you, leave it in your hotel safe instead. Only carry what you need and keep valuables in a secure pocket. If you have a bag or case, never let it out of your sight.
“Be more alert in crowds and wary of anyone getting too close. Finally, try not to advertise the location of prized possessions by patting your pockets or bags.”
The films also feature a number of tourists whose holidays ended not so happily, who share the tricks that they fell for, including being accosted by two nasty ‘nuns’.
Amongst the tips offered by the British Embassy, there’s one vital piece of backup advice for when things go wrong – always keep a separate photocopy of your passport, or store an electronic copy securely.

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