Tourists Warned About Disgusting New Scam Employed By Pickpockets In Spain

Image of a Mossos d'Esquadra police officer.

Image of a Mossos d'Esquadra police officer. Credit: Twitter

Holidaymakers have been warned by Spanish police in the city of Barcelona to be aware of a new scam that pickpockets have been seen employing.

Pickpockets are unfortunately a criminal element that operates in most major holiday destinations and they are constantly inventing new ways of stealing people’s belongings.

The Mossos d’Esquadra police force in the Catalan region has observed one of the latest schemes that these criminals have devised and carried out on two separate occasions so far.

As shown in video footage they uploaded onto their official Twitter account, the trick involves two men. One of them spits on an unsuspecting victim and then points out that they have phlegm on them and offers to help them clean it off.

This disgusting technique was observed in operation at train stations on Barcelona’s popular, and busy, Metro system. Offering to clean up the spit only serves as a distraction.

One such attempt was captured on security cameras and showed two men wearing baseball caps. The first man is seen standing behind a girl as she goes to purchase a ticket from the machine.

After the man spits in her blonde hair the girl turns around the moment she feels something hit her. At that point,  the criminal behaves as though he is a responsible citizen and in a well-prepared manner he offers to help clean it out.

While she is occupied with the good samaritan, his accomplice made a move on her rucksack that she had been gripping tightly, but subsequently placed unattended on the floor to deal with the saliva.

Once the ruse is completed, her helper suddenly makes out that he is about to miss his train and disappears. Of course, the girl then sadly realises she has been the victim of bag-snatchers.

Another similar incident involved a young male who was travelling with a small suitcase and his laptop. A man is seen approaching him and then spitting in the man’s hoodie.

Once again, the man moves in to assist him clean up the saliva and the second thief takes the opportunity to make off with the laptop.

Watch out for distractions of any kind that make you strangers on public transport, on the street or wherever. Keep your stuff under control at all times #StopFurts‘, the Mossos tweeted, accompanied by the video footage.

While the incidents in question occurred in Barcelona, tourists are advised by the Spanish police to be aware that similar tricks could be employed in other parts of the country by these opportunist criminals.

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Written by

Chris King

Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at