A HOLIDAY couple have become victim of a gang preying on unsuspecting travellers.
David Kennedy and his wife Audrey were hit by the thieves, in what seemed to be a well-rehearsed scam, as they journeyed to Morocco by car.
Now they are warning other holidaying Wearsiders to beware.
The couple, from Doxford Park, arrived by ferry at the Spanish port of Bilbao last Tuesday, and had stopped to fill up their 4x4 with fuel when crooks struck.
Retired construction worker David, 63, believes thieves slashed their tyre at the petrol station, forcing them to pull over on the motorway.
A local driver also pulled over and began berating them for not displaying warning triangles, which are mandatory in Spain.
When he left, the couple’s mobiles and camera equipment had been stolen.
They soon discovered they were not the gang’s only British victims.
David said: “As we fumed and sweated changing the tyre, an English-reg white van pulled in – a driver we had briefly met at the filling station.
“A big tough lad, he was in a state of high anxiety and stress, and reduced to tears at the loss of passport, ferry tickets and medication.
“There were about nine people from our ferry who were targeted in a filling station.
“It’s not as if I’m naive, as I checked for other occupants in the car when it pulled up.
“When I contacted our insurance company, they said it is not a one-off.
“They have had thousands of incidents every year.
“Another one at the moment is that people are impersonating police officers, and demanding on-the-spot fines.”
David, who retired three years ago and regularly travels abroad with Audrey, 60, believes scammers are singling out Brits who head for cheaper petrol prices after arriving into Spain by ferry.
He added: “With Easter coming up and a lot of families going on motoring holidays as opposed to flying, we are all at risk.
“My advice is to fill up with fuel on the UK side and avoid filling stations in Spain beside the big cities.”