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Why is Spain rotten to the core with British Criminals ?

By Mr Grumpy - Fri 15th Apr 2011

... or at least as far as the British media would have you believe ?

Hardly a week seems to go by without watching Crimestoppers or the regional and national news on British TV - even reading a report in the newspapers - that is describing a wanted criminal, and then winds up by saying how the Police can not locate the said criminal and he is 'believed to be in Spain'.

I honestly believe that the phrase has become 'Police-Speak' for 'We've messed up and haven't got a clue where he is'. They think that if they state a location, they have done their bit for society.

Like Eastenders, where only 4 places exist outside of 'the square' (I'm talking about Manchester, 'up west', Sarfend and Ibeefah... ) when the Police fail to locate the whereabouts of somebody, they are simply described as being 'believed to be in Spain'. And Spain being such a tiny country, they've pretty much got him cornered as soon as they make that fact known !

Every time I hear or read the words it conjures up images of the Film "Buster" with the likes of Ronnie Biggs and the lads Jollying it up in Marbella with their loud shirts and questionable cocktails with 'Going loco down in Acapulco' playing in the soundtrack of my mind.

Or more recently 'Sexy Beast' or 'Mad dogs', both of which play up to the common stereotype of 1 in 3 expats being on the run from something or somebody in the UK. And why are they always from the East End of 'Laaaaandan' ?

The problem is that the Spanish press pick up on this stereotype and run with it, and it gives a lot of Brits a reputation that isn't deserved.

A few months back I blogged about being stopped at gunpoint by the Guardia on suspicion of being an armed robber. You can't really blame them - according to the British Police there must be thousands of wanted criminals walking freely amongst them - if there's a crime locally, then hey - just look for the expat - it must be them! - Or at least an expat who 'looks like a criminal'.

So being a white English guy, mid 30's, stocky and with a shaved head, I suppose I match the description of about 60% of the many wanted criminals on the Crimewatch 'operation captura' posters and website. I was asking for it, I know ...guilty as charged M'lud...

Operation Captura has undeniably had some success, with a number of criminals being caught very quickly by the vigilant public, but a good percentage of the longer term and more serious criminals have evaded capture. My theory is that these criminals are simply not in Spain, but have moved away to a place where they feel comfortable and where nobody is looking for them - the UK.

So the next time you see a potential armed robber loitering suspiciously outside a bank be sure to say hello to me.

Comment on this Blog

If you don't want to look like a chavvy criminal, stop shaving your head. The British immigrants in Spain don't generally do themselves any favours. Their general behaviour is pretty poor. And you just know they would be the first ones to moan about immigration to the UK. Quite frankly, I don't blame the Guardia for singling British immigrants out in Spain.
Finlay - Wed, 27th Nov 2013
There must be a lot of stereotyping in this whole issue. Not really knowing Saavern Spine I´m not sure about this issue. However it is a good strategy for the police to say some wide boy´s "believed to be in Spain" as if that´s the right place for him to be and if he causes trouble to the Spaniards, who cares?
Mo - Sat, 25th Feb 2012
Its not the case that the Police just pick out Spain - and equally the fact that someone who is wanted is in Spain in the first place is not necessarily anything to do with the police messing up. Spain is an entry point for drugs and criminals from Latin America - lots of UK crims also go to Holland - again a major entry point for drugs.
Coe - Sat, 25th Feb 2012
I don't think that proportionately there are any more expat Criminals on the Costas than there are back home in the UK. But I do think that the media (both in the UK and here in Spain) pander to the stereotype that there is.
Mr Grumpy - Sun, 28th Aug 2011
I find it very interesting to hear how expats live in southern Spain. The numbers make you visible, paradoxically, really, since it would seem more likely that one odd person (like me) would stand out more. There´s still a "Wild West" aura around southern Spain, apparently. I wonder why. Fill me in if you have ideas on this Mr. Grumpy. Has it to do with extradition?
Mo - Sat, 27th Aug 2011

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