The ‘flat tyre scam’ is a fairly regular occurrence outside towns, particularly after people have stopped to fill up with petrol, but this time it took place in the car park at the Lidl supermarket in Nerja, as we heard from a Belgian family visiting the area.
We received this account from the victims:
My parents, on a holiday in Nerja, parked yesterday their car at the parking lot of LIDL Nerja. It was a rental car. After shopping, they came out and remarked that one of the tyres was flat. A man came directly towards them, offering help. He was also using a mobile phone. A little further, a second man was receiving the telephone calls.
The first man tried to distract my parents from their belongings, giving the second man the opportunity to steal their wallet and money. This all happened in the middle of the day.
It seems a common way of stealing from people, happening more and more in Nerja and surroundings. My parents don’t speak enough Spanish to go to the Police, but it looks like people should be aware of this practice.
Searching on Google and on tripadvisor (forum Nerja), it is clear that this happens more and more. A lot of tourists have had the same experience. The men speak Spanish and English.
This is not the first incident in the Lidl car park, being somewhat off the beaten track, and it shows that everyone needs to be vigilant at all times.
It also highlights the fact that visitors who cannot speak the language, and this would apply in any country, can feel intimidated at the prospect of informing the police or other authorities of this or any other type of incident.
This in turn leads to the crime not being reported and, therefore, the police are (perhaps) unaware that such things are happening. This can also, in the future, result in statements being made that, ‘No, that sort of thing never happens here.’
There are usually translators available at police stations and there are special phone lines for reporting crimes in English and, in some cases, other languages.
Although fairly rare, these incidents do nevertheless occur and can be devastating for the victims.