Britain and US issue Mexico WARNING as violent crimewave grips holiday spots

The idyllic sunshine getaway is in the grip of a crime wave which is sweeping the most popular tourist resorts leading to the Foreign Office to issue a dire warning.

As well as gang violence including shootings on beaches, tourists are being advised to be wary of dodgy alcohol, sexual assaults, fake cops, bus robberies, carjackings and kidnappings.

The situation has got so bad the US State Department has also put out a warning.

There are now armed federal officers patrolling the beaches and hotel districts across the popular Quintana Roo province which includes Brit favourites Cancun and Riveria Maya.

Tourists risk facing  violent street robbers and attackers and official UK advice is to “be alert to the existence of serious violent crime like robbery, assault and vehicle hijacking”.

Brits are also being warned about the potential for mass food poisoning outbreaks after tainted food and water poo bug Cyclospora struck down Brits three years in a row.

Leading international travel expert Nick Harris of Simpson Millar solicitors said he has been inundated with holidaymakers concerned about trips to Mexico over the festive period.

Mr Harris blasted: “These sort of government warnings are not taken lightly but they are also based on what is happening on the ground. People  are quite rightly very worried. Many of them just want to cancel as they are so scared. 

“Winter tourists are walking bang into the middle of a violent gang war to control the streets. They could be victims at any time. They could witness a shooting and they have to contend with potentially getting drugged with dodgy alcohol and robbed or even sexually assaulted. Even going to the cashpoint you need to have your wits about you as there are robbers around.

“Its not just the gangs you have to watch out for though as the food is often dodgy.

“We have also seen hundreds of people fall seriously ill from consuming  food and drink in their hotels tainted with faeces as hygiene standards are very poor.

“Things aren’t like here in the UK, this is still a developing country with desperate people and when they see a white foreigner with a British accent they see a cash cow.

“People need to know what they are getting into when they visit these type of countries. These places come with lots of problems including poverty and crime. Unfortunately the tour operators like to play down the dangers. But for those that end up a victim it is not a nice place to be.”

Mexico in particular the Cancun and Riveria Maya resorts, have become big hits with Brits over the last few years.

Tour operators like TUI have been pushing them as “safe destinations” as Brits steer clear of countries like France due to the risk of terror attacks.  

But with the new found popularity comes the dark underbelly and violence as gangs battle to control the lucrative tourist drugs trade.

The Foreign Office has updated its travel advice pages to reflect this ongoing crime wave.

It states: “Crime and violence are serious problems in Mexico and the security situation can pose a risk for foreigners. You should only travel in daylight hours.”

As well as citing shootings in a nightclub earlier this year in Playa Del Carmen their have since been dozens of killings in the resort of Cancun including a vendor on a tourist beach as shocked guests sunbathed.

Two people were also shot in a packed shopping centre car park in September while a severed head was left on a busy street near a bank.

Over 129 killings have been registered in Quintana Roo province up until September including over 13 in one month.

The Director of Tourism for Cozumel and Riviera Maya tourist board said special operations have been in place since August, adding: “The presence of Federal and local forces is continuing. They focus on tourists zones and their presence is permanent.”

The latest advice also warns of robberies and assaults by unlicensed taxi drivers and also says “don’t leave food or drinks unattended in bars and restaurants. Travellers have been robbed or assaulted after being drugged“.

They also suggest using ATMs in “daylight hours” due to the risk of attack and also warn of express kidnappings where victims are forced to withdraw cash from their credit cards to secure a partner’s release.

There have also been a spate of alleged sex attacks on tourists in the Riveria Maya resort linked to tainted alcohol as well as deaths.

The US Government has taken the unusual step of issuing a warning to travellers about dodgy booze and TripAdvisor also came under fire for removing posts where holidaymakers had referenced attacks in the resorts of Cancun and Riviera Maya.

Tourists also need to be wary of hailing an Uber taxi as local cab companies are involved in a campaign of intimidation with the ride app.

This has already seen drivers attacked and others run off the road and attacked with baseball bats.

Nick added: “Any holiday could turn into a nightmare in the blink of an eye. If you do get into any type of trouble contact the local embassy for help.”