Holiday Home Squatters

The Guardia Civil arrested a criminal gang who extorted holiday-home owners, demanding payment in order to not trash the dwellings.

The police, upon receiving a complaint from a victim began investigations and soon found that it was not an isolated case.

The gang, which operated in Villajoyosa in Alicante, demanded 14,000 euros from one victim in exchange for leaving, but even in some cases when the demands were met, they still refused to go.

The modus operandi was the following: a woman would approach the owner and for a short-let holiday period such as a weekend, but once she was in, then her husband would get involved, who provided the physical threats, etc – sometime he would smash up furniture or other household goods in front of the owner to show that he was in earnest.

The big mistake in most cases was that the property owner agreed to a verbal contract so the woman was able to claim that she had entered into a long-term let.

The occupied house always had at least one member of the gang in it at all times and even let their family members stay there in order to achieve this, as they had several properties ‘on the boil.’ It is calculated that the gang managed to obtain 62,000 euros in this fashion.

The arrested gang members have been charged with extortion, fraud, damages to property and belonging to a criminal organisation. After appearing before a magistrate four of them have been remanded in custody.

(News: villajoyosa, Alicante, Valencia)

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