Burglaries in Spain are on the increase.

The number of burglaries increased in 2012 by 22 per cent and is thought to be an effect of the economic crisis and re-offenders are said to account for up to 70 per cent of break-ins. The ministry of the interior has said that prison sentences will be increased.

At present, burglars only get between one and three years behind bars, but this can increase to up to a maximum of six years when there are additional aggravating factors such as violence, reoffending or whether the property was occupied at the time.

Empty homes and holiday homes are being targeted more, since there are so many new and nearly-new properties due to the recession and housing market crash.

Thieves are taking radiators, copper metal and other scrap metal which is currently fetching a high price in Spain.

The ministry has identified three main types of burglar. Firstly, Spanish nationals with drug problems, then professional or specialist thieves, and lastly dangerous organised criminal gangs who usually employ violence and target their properties carefully to ensure a maximum haul.

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