Don’t Stop And Watch The Benidorm Pea Men
Benidorm has become one of the best-loved Spanish holiday destinations attracting more than four million UK holidaymakers each year. However, that number could drop unless the Mayor of Benidorm and the police tackle the growing problem of the Pea Men and pickpockets.
For some years now residents and business owners have called on the local authorities to tackle the growing crime problem in Benidorm, but those pleas seem to have fallen on death ears. Now it seems the lack of action could damage the local economy with many holidaymakers from the UK vowing not to return after reporting feeling unsafe.
One of the main causes of the crime problem in Benidorm is the Pea Men who are a gang of crooks that entice holidaymakers to part with their money. The pea men set up in popular parts of Benidorm including Levante Beach and outside the Flash Hotel, as well as outside or near the indoor market. They walk around with two cardboard boxes in groups of around eight people, one is the ring master, three to pretend they are punters, and the rest as lookouts so they are not caught by the police.
The Benidorm pea men are very good at fooling people, making people believe that it is easy to win money. Although vulnerable spectators get carried away with all the cheering and the money that punters are winning, in reality, no one wins. Those that look like they are winning are in fact part of the gang, and while a lot of money is lost in the game, more money is lost while the gang walks around the crowd pickpocketing people of their wallets and purses.
The pea men have become a huge problem in Benidorm, and with all the lookouts they have, it has become nearly impossible for the police to catch them. According to the holidaymakers we have spoken to, and the many reports on social media platforms, the pea men in Benidorm don’t need lookouts as the police don’t seem interested. Although the Mayor of Benidorm says he is doing all he can to tackle the growing problem, some local residents, business owners, and holidaymakers feel this is all talk and nothing is being done to make Benidorm safer.
One of our feature reporters has just recently returned from Benidorm and witnessed police driving past the pea men, not just once, but on three occasions. This lack of interest by the police has not gone unnoticed by UK holidaymakers. Many holidaymakers have turned to social media asking why the police show no interest in the pea men, with many vowing not to return unless the problem is tackled.
The pea men and the pickpockets are not the only problems in Benidorm. There has been an increase in the number of people being mugged, with one person reporting being mugged within four hours of getting to their hotel. Although there is crime everywhere, it seems that many holidaymakers in the UK feel that Benidorm has become a holiday resort that attracts criminals with no action being taken..
In2town Travel Magazine asked one hundred holidaymakers if they felt safe in Benidorm. Seventy of those asked said no, with thirty of them vowing not to return until more action has been taken. Out of the hundred people spoken to, twenty of them said they had been a victim of crime in Benidorm; another thirty said they knew someone who had been a victim. Although Benidorm is still a popular and a magical place to visit, it does show that holidaymakers from the UK are concerned about returning.
A holiday rep we spoke to said: “The crime in Benidorm has gone through the roof. It’s important to always be vigilant and not to go near the pea men.”
Another holiday rep said that Benidorm is a safe place to visit as long as those visiting the resort following these simple rules.
1. Not to go near the pea men
2. Don’t take out more money that you need
3. Always be vigilant about strangers getting to close
4. Never take your passport out
5. Leave credit, debit cards in the safe
It’s not just the pea men, the muggers, and the pickpockets to be aware of; there is also a growing problem with prostitution. The number of prostitutes in Benidorm has increased with many of them not offering services that is expected. There are gangs operating in Benidorm where they target vulnerable men, such as those that are on their own or are drunk and take them to a quiet area where they are then mugged. Some of the prostitutes are not women and are men dressed up as women. The police recently launched a campaign to tackle this problem, but the problem continues to grow.
Unless the Mayor of Benidorm tackles the growing problems in Benidorm, then more holidaymakers could turn their backs on the popular resort and head to other parts of Spain, something that local business owners don’t want to see happen.
By Chantelle Schmitt