SUR

Police in Marbella create special unit to combat wave of luxury watch thefts

National Police officers will crack down on the problem plaguing the town and the main tourist areas of the Costa del Sol

JUAN CANO

The National Police force has created a special unit in Marbella to try and stop the wave of luxury watch thefts affecting the town and the main tourist areas of the Costa del Sol.

Police say violent criminal gangs are targeting the tourist trade. Last week, an officer in Marbella miraculously escaped being shot after a watch thief snatched his gun and tried to shoot him twice.

Also last week another violent assault was recorded in which two individuals on a motorbike tried to snatch a wristwatch from a woman who resisted and fought back screaming.

Itinerant thieves

The new task force, which will hunt the watch thieves, is part of the Specialised and Violent Crime Unit (UDEV) of the Marbella police station.

Officers say the itinerant thieves are adept at relocating to escape police pressure after a hit.

The Mossos d'Esquadra of the Barcelona police region have also followed the same criteria as the Marbella police station and have created a group specialised in the same area.

According to the data provided by the Catalan police force, between the start of the year until May, some 64 arrests were made of thieves specialising in the violent robbery of luxury watches. The rate of solving this type of crime is approximately 40 per cent, according to sources.