A BRITISH couple who scammed hundreds of Costa-bound tourists have fled their luxury Alhaurin el Grande villa and are allegedly hiding out in Murcia.
The owners of Rainbow Villas, Mark and Michelle Stafford, have disappeared from their high-security property – whose near neighbours include Status Quo star Rick Parfitt, to ‘lie low’ in Murcia – it can be revealed.
The pair’s villa rental company suddenly ‘ceased trading’ earlier this month, leaving holidaymakers thousands of euros out of pocket and with nowhere to stay.
When the Olive Press visited their gated villa – fitted out with cameras and a 600 metre private drive – nobody was at home, despite a source saying that the couple’s son is looking after the property and dogs.
Despite their six dogs making a lot of noise in the grounds and a van being in evidence, a neighbour told the Olive Press that the pair had gone to Murcia, where Mark’s mother lives.
“The couple fled in a hurry, initially to Murcia,” the neighbour said. “But as they have homes in France, Portugal and England, I suspect they will leave Spain sharpish.”
She added: “For now, their son, who is in his early 30s, is looking after their six dogs and eight cats.”
Meanwhile an army of scammed holiday-makers are compiling a dossier of legal evidence to present to the police via a spokesman in Spain.
One victim, Gemma Axell, was five minutes from Gatwick airport when she saw an email telling her the villa had been cancelled and not to travel to Marbella for their hen party.
“Devastated was an understatement, I took the costume off and sobbed as the reality sunk in that we had nowhere to stay and had lost £4,350 (€6,000) on a villa,” she said.
“We’re now putting a case together as a group to try and retrieve the money back and get them prosecuted,” she added.