British tourists traveling to Spain this summer will need to be on guard against “spit thieves” targeting visitors.
The Spanish police issued a warning to British holidaymakers after a gang of thieves was spotted spitting on victims to distract them.
Detectives shared footage of the bag snatchers spitting on tourists and then offering to help clean up.
In one clip, a man in a baseball cap is filmed spitting on a woman as she buys a ticket at a Barcelona metro station.
The woman turns around after she feels the liquid disgusting but the man already has his back to her.
He then offers to help her clean up while his partner snatches her bag while she’s distracted.
The original spitter then makes a hasty retreat before the woman realizes her belongings have been stolen.
Another clip shows thieves approaching a young man at a station in Barcelona and the same tactic is used to steal his laptop.
A spokesperson for the regional police force said: “Watch out for distractions of any kind involving strangers on public transport, the street or wherever. Keep your belongings under control at all times.”
It is not yet known whether the “spit thieves” are also operating in other areas of Spain or whether the trick is only used in Barcelona.
The scam is similar to the “bird poo” one where a pickpocket sprays a liquid on a tourist and leads them to believe a bird has pooed on them.
The pickpocket then offers to help the person wipe off the poo while taking the opportunity to steal items from their pockets.
Barcelona is one of Europe’s pick-pocketing hotspots with tourists often targeted in busy areas such as Las Ramblas street and public transport stations.
Over the last few years, several sports stars and tourists have had expensive watches stolen by thieves.