A COURT in Granada has heard how up to 800 people illegally passed through the entrance to the Alhambra every 30 minutes.

A year-long judicial investigation into claims of illicit ticket sales for the 14th century Islamic palace found 10,000 counterfeit admissions were passed on to unsuspecting tourists.

Magistrates in Granada were told some tickets were sold twice in a bid to cram more visitors into the Alhambra – Spain’s most popular tourist attraction. Management company Patronato de la Alhambra believes up to 38 of its employees financially benefited from this scam.

The investigation also claims cashiers at bank BBVA sold up to 70 tickets at a time to one person although the maximum individual allocation is only five.

A total of 46 people were arrested between December 2005 and February this year. All deny any wrongdoing.