Holidaymakers warned of Spanish island’s golf fairways criminals

Holidaymakers have been warned to beware a Spanish island’s golf fairways as cunning crooks are creating fake greens – to lure players into secluded spots to steal from them. The Balearic island of Majorca off Spain’s eastern coast has long been a popular destination for Britons to jet to for spring sun, sea and a relaxing round of golf.

But now Spanish criminals are reportedly laying traps worse than a mere sand bunker – by creating fake greens and moving flags, in order to lure wealthy golfers into secluded spots where they can easily target them.

The incredible lengths the thieves are going to have been revealed by local media on the island, where every year more than 2.3 million Britons travel to – accounting for 26 percent of the island’s tourism industry.

The thefts are affecting golf courses in and around the capital Palma, as well as the municipality of Calvia which includes Magaluf, Santa Ponsa, and wealthy Andratx.

One popular golf club on the holiday island is even putting clients on guard by handing out leaflets in four languages, including English, before they reach the first tee.

Local newspaper Diario de Mallorca has revealed how thieves stole a £16,000 Swiss watch and more than £1,300 in cash from the bag of a distracted golfer earlier this week as he focused on his putt and took his eyes off his spare clubs and other belongings.

Meanwhile Vall d’Or Golf near Portocolom, on the island’s east coast, is handing out leaflets in Spanish, English, French and German to golfers before they start playing after they too have seen thefts.

They state: “Dear clients, given the wave of thefts that are taking place in the golf courses of Majorca, we remind you to keep an eye on your belongings.”

Israel Rodriguez, director of the club which is popular with British expats and holidaymakers, said of their leaflets: “It might not be a very commercial solution, but it’s been the most effective because after the theft has taken place all we can do is advise victims they should report it.

“Better to advise them before and not after they find their watch and cash has gone missing as has happened.”

The criminals behind the thefts are thought to study the courses before striking, and target victims at so-called ‘black spots’ where they feel their chances of getting their hands on golfers’ valuables without being caught, and in many cases even noticed, can be maximised.

Those areas tend to be open with no fencing around the course and near roads the thieves can use to make a quick getaway.

Thefts on golf courses are not unique to Majorca. They have been raised as a problem as well in areas such as the Costa del Sol.

One British golfer who regularly practices in the area posted an online warning, saying: “It is much more typical for thieves to try to steal your belongings while you are actually out on the course, and not in the vicinity of the clubhouse where there are generally more people around.

“These thieves are not fools. They carefully pick particular holes on the course to operate on, in particular holes where you park your buggy next to the green, and they carry out the theft while you are busy on the green, probably with the buggy not in plain sight.

“This is opportunistic general theft, very rarely mugging. That is, the thief is unlikely to hold you up with a knife or gun. They want to steal valuable items that you carelessly leave unprotected.

“As a frequent golfer on the Costa del Sol, I hear stories about theft from particular courses. But it is really unfair to mention those courses.”