COPS in Barcelona are doling out “emergency clothing kits” to tourists who have their clothes pinched while enjoying a dip in the sea.
The initiative is particularly appreciated by nudists visiting the beaches of Sant Sebastia or Mar Bella, according to reports.
The Urban Guard of Barcelona is looking after victims of theft by giving them bags containing four practical items – flip flops, a T-shirt provided by Barcelona City Council, trousers and a one-way Barcelona Metro ticket.
El Pais reports that the “theft kit” is especially designed for holidaymakers returning to their belongings on the beach after a swim, only to find their gear has been swiped.
Since the holiday season began, cops have handed out 174 kits between May 27 and August 21.
This is a rise from three years ago, when 120 were provided from May to September.
The jump echoes a rise in reported crime in the resort location, with deputy mayor Albert Batlle saying there’s a “security crisis”, including at its crowded beaches.
Official police statistics show crime in the first half of 2019 soared by nine per cent – on top of a shocking 17.2 per cent rise in 2018.
The Urban Guard police – who patrol beaches daily by scooter, bicycles or quad bikes – have so far arrested 137 people, and charged 212 for thefts and robberies over the summer season.
The force’s agents have also “seized a total of 102,080 drinks and have filed 9,520 complaints about [illegal] street sales,” El Pais says.
The Sun Online recently reported that residents in Barcelona have formed their own “crime-fighting patrols” after a huge rise in violent muggings and robberies targeting tourists in the city.
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Their action follows a police warning about thefts which include the threat of violence have increased 30 per cent since the beginning of the year compared to the same period in 2018.
The vigilante groups, in a bid to tackle criminal behaviour, use large signs in different languages warning of pickpockets on the tube.
They also use whistles to alert passengers that there is a presumed pickpocket in the area.