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Travelling to Tenerife

Covid-19 Travel Guidance

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO), constantly update their guidance and advice for travelling abroad. You should check the FCO’s current travel advice before making any plans to travel. Please bare in mind that travel disruption is still a possibility and further restrictions can come into force at very short notice due to Covid-19.

Thieves and Pick Pockets

The majority of people who visit Tenerife are not victims of pickpockets or thieves, yet gangs and individuals do operate on the Island as in all other holiday hot spots.

Be aware when you arrive at the airport.  Professional thieves usually operate in teams of two or more and will look out for potential victims when they arrive at Tenerife South Airport or at one of the many tourist attractions on the Island.  They also target hire cars, so ensure you remove all valuable items from your hire car and put any clothing etc in the boot of the car to avoid the car from being broken into.  Make sure you carry your passports, money and personal belongings in a safe place and do not leave them unattended at any time.

How can you prevent being their next victim and what do you need to know?

Below are some safety tips:

Be Aware

Thieves and pickpockets employ various techniques to catch you out which are well used and successful.  Avoid being their next victim by taking note of some of the warnings below.

  • Thieves and pickpockets usually operate in crowds and busy areas, e.g. airports, hotel lobbies, public transport centres, and other tourists hot spots like markets.  Be extra aware of your belongings when in these places.
  • Be aware when travelling in enclosed spaces such as the bus. They often dress like tourists so you may not suspect them.
  • If you are carrying a handbag with a long handle ensure you place the handle over your head with the strap lying across your body. A common trick is for thieves on motorcycles to target people with bags on their shoulder, drive past and before you know it the bag has gone.
  • Never hand your credit or debit card over to a shop keeper or waiter without accompanying them.  Most restaurants will bring the card reader to your table or it will be at the till.
  • Distraction is the key to pickpocketing.  A moment of distraction in a busy place and before you realize you are another victim. Professional pickpockets employ various distraction techniques.  Watch out for some of the following:

Watch Out!

  1. If you are asked for a light for a cigarette.  Without you realising they are distracting you by talking, their arm around you and they have got your purse or wallet.
  2. Be aware of any form of physical contact by a stranger which you could think of as just being friendly.
  3. A popular distraction technique is for the thief to throw, drop or squirt liquid or a made-up substance to look like bird droppings.  They then come over to you and offer to help remove it and whilst doing so take your belongings.  They have even been known to say they live very close, point to a door and to follow them and they will help you clean.  Do not go with anyone who offers to help in such situations.
  4. A person may also approach you asking for directions whilst holding a map.  This is a well-used distraction technique.  Just say you don’t know and walk away.
  5. Individuals, dropping rings, keys or coins are all distraction techniques used.  Watch out for these.
  6. If you have a hire car be wary if you return to your car, the tyre(s) are flat or slashed, these may have been purposely vandalised.  Professional thieves or pickpockets will offer to help and whilst doing so one of the party will take your purse or wallet or bags from the car.
  7. Thieves also target holiday accommodation.  Ensure you lock all doors and windows when you leave your accommodation and lock valuables and money away.

Travel Tips:

  • Never carry your purse or wallet inside your jacket or back pocket.
  • Travel with two wallets or purses.  Have one purse or wallet with a small amount of money inside in case you are mugged.  Keep your bank and credit cards in a separate wallet.
  • Remove any important documentation from your wallet.
  • Hold your purse/wallet securely in crowds.
  • Don’t carry all your belongings together.
  • Don’t carry too much cash or wear a lot of jewellery when out.
  • Make a note of contact numbers to cancel your bank cards in the event they are stolen.
  • Photocopy and store all your travel documents and insurance documents.
  • Whenever possible keep all important documents and cash in a safe at your accommodation.
  • Be aware of your personal space and alert to anyone who gets too close.

Victims of Crime

The number for any emergency in Spain and Tenerife is 112. (police, fire & ambulance).

In the tourist resorts, English speakers are usually on duty.

If you have been a victim of crime you must make a report (“denuncia”), to the police.  You will need to produce a copy of the “denuncia” if you make a claim against your insurance company for any items which have been stolen.

Policia Local.  The local town force who deal with relatively minor issues such as traffic control and protection of property.

Cuerpo Nacional de Policia.   Deal with slightly more serious crimes than the Policia Local.  They are usually the point of contact for robbery, street crime etc in urban areas.

Guardia Civil.  The Civil Guard has the greatest powers and is responsible for general policing in rural areas.  They deal with serious issues such as anti-terrorism, weapon control, drug smuggling etc.

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