A BRITISH couple were thrown into a Spanish jail over a mix-up involving a €15 paella they never ordered.

Geoff Cox and his partner Bridget Keyes, from Surrey, had been enjoying a relaxing cycling holiday from Cordoba to Granada when they stopped off at the restaurant for a meal.

When the bill arrived, the couple noticed they had been charged for an extra paella and complained to the waiter.
But he insisted they were wrong and the argument quickly escalated into pushing and shoving.

“We pointed out the extra paella and the waiter went off like a firecracker,” said retired hosiery salesman Mr Cox, who is in his 50s.

“We put down €105 and said we would pay that, but he wanted €120.

“It got a bit ugly and when he said he would call the police we said, ‘Right, fine’, because we were certain they would side with us.”

But when officers arrived, the pair found themselves in the middle of a scuffle which saw Mr Cox’s glasses broken and both Brits arrested.

To make matters worse, the police later claimed that the couple had assaulted them and demanded compensation.

The pair were fingerprinted, had their shoelaces confiscated and were even left in separate cells for the night without anything to eat or drink.

Mr Cox said: “Two lawyers and a translator turned up 12 hours later – we had had no information, no food and no water.

“I was told I was charged with assault on the police, resisting arrest and defrauding a restaurant, that these were criminal charges and I could get a year in jail.”

After another agonising seven hours the couple were told the criminal charges were dropped but the damages claim remained, so they should return to court two days later.

“That messed up our holiday plans as we were off to Sevilla,” Mr Cox continued. “We came back to Granada at a cost of €200 to have our day in court.

“We still didn’t know what was happening. The prosecution demanded fines of €360 each, plus €260 damages to the police.

“In the end we were fined €78 and €250 damages for me throwing my face against his fist.

With the cost of legal fees added on, the pair has been left severely out of pocket and seriously shaken from the whole experience.

“I’m an ordinary, middle class, respectable citizen who has never had any trouble with the police,” Mr Cox added.

“It’s a bloody outrage and we must still make sure our fine gets paid to the right place.

“If it gets lost in the system we could find ourselves facing a European extradition warrant, so I’m still worried about it.”


  1. Mary, yes there are problems in all countries but you do not normally get beaten up for a €12 plate of food by the police and get locked up all night. When you buy a new car in the UK they don’t normally give you a ring and state that you should hand over another €2,000 before they hand over the paper work. Don’t get me started with my favourites, the solicitors, estate agents and Town Halls!! They are even worse. I wholeheartedly agree with Mr Rich and his reasons are why I left Spain and although I could afford to live there again one day I am not sure if I will. If you live in a Brit place, you only speak enough Spanish to order a beer and say hello and have not had to deal with Spanish people then you are better off as you do not understand what they are telling you. It is better that you do not learn the language and stay within your rose tinted world as you will be happier. I am sure they are the people that like Spain more.

  2. First and fore most what happened was indeed a horrible situation- I was not there so I can’t say what was what but I do hope some justice will prevail.

    Stuart, I have never read the Daily Mail in my life but I have read many of your numerous post which all seem to be a black eye to Spain which is why I posted what I did.

    As far as a “stupid” statement you accuse me of, one might say the same back to you- of course one city does not make the whole country. Keep that in mind- your, mine or anyone’s bad experience doesn’t make a country either; that is why I said stop generalizing, which I felt you did.

    To answer your other question, yes I have been to court in Spain and yes I have attended a court case. So your thoughts were wrong. Before my career as a teacher here, I worked for the court system in the states for over 13 years and have been privy to be invited to observe the court system in several countries.
    Like you I have lived and worked in several other countries and South America has quite a system of “enchufado” as well.

    I am not foolish enough to think everything is a walk in the park here but I do know that not everything in the glass needs to be half empty as well.

    We will agree on one thing- it is always best to and learn the basics about a country before visiting and learning some of the language does go a long way.

  3. I see my post provoked many of you. Mistakenly, this is not what I expected, and I do agree my post is “OTT”. The “OTT” post is not easily dismissed because the words ring true with anyone from outside Spain that has spent any amount of time there, not as a tourist. Still, lets analyze what I said. Firstly, the incident in question: based on the story as it’s been told, we have a Spanish mob, the Spanish players exhibit belligerence, stubbornness, arrogance, racism and corruption. Regarding my other aptly used adjectives: Have any of you spent a night in the streets of Madrid, particularly every night from Thursday through Sunday? Those streets are strewn with vomit, urine and feces(the men and women use the streets as a toilet). This is a “filthy” place and people. Can any of you really challenge me when I say “mostly drunk”? Wherever there are the Spanish you can bet there is a tremendous amount of careless alcohol consumption and endless partying, whatever time of the day or night, wherever they are in the world. Let’s address “uneducated” and “sheep”. It’s as if their dictator is still alive. This is a country of slaves that think they are free. There is no individuality. They are all the same, a product of their television, newspapers and educational system, all corrupted with little or no courage or real free thinking, and less outside information than any country where I’ve lived or visited in Europe, and maybe even less than in Arabia and Africa. They only understand and know the Spanish group think and the garbage that they are fed about the outside world. So many of the Spanish I met liked to brag about their law degrees. “I’m lawyer” they would say in English. Please… Seems getting a law degree in Spain is a function of showing up at one of their universities for a few hours a day, in between drinking and partying, while living with their parents (which they do well into their late 30’s on the average). I will leave with one last comment that explains the Spanish, as they pound their chests. “The jamon in my village is the best jamon”. Have any of you heard this before? Or was it the “best olives”? Or, the “best water”? Or…….
    Perhaps Geoff Cox made the mistake of insulting the local jamon. That will get you punched in this lovely country.

  4. Reap, when in spain, about half of the year I live inland in a town were few people speak english. I did have a place on a costa but the appalling behaviour of the holiday makers and to a lesser extent British immigrants, was enough to get me running to the hills. I have never seen any one rolling around drunk here, apart that is from a notable case of a retired Britsh buisnessman who was arressted as he tried to drive home. He was so drunk the local police took him straight to the hospital for emergency treatment.I have had bad experinces here, the worst was when I worked for an english person who turned out to be an out and out crook. Another was when I bought my first property here and the British based, worldwide, property agency were less than honest and they disappeared overnight.
    When in UK I am based in the cotswolds but visit family in many parts of UK. Most of them would not go into their local city on a weekend evening or sometimes even a week day evening. They just do not think it is safe.
    Rich I have often stayed in Madrid as well as Valencia but do not recognise your version of the place.
    You talk about the Franco era, my son in law and his family lived through these dreadful times. They still carry the scars. True Spain has many problems but then its come a long way in a relatively short time, not helped by dodgey dealers from other coutries wanting their slice of the pie. All this is a million miles fron the story above, and yet again I say onesided, bias, highhanded reporting. The man may be telling the truth but I would not make that judgement based on what I have read, I just dont know either way.

  5. Poor Rich – spent a couple of nights on the lash in Madrid and extrapolates a load of garbage from it. Yes, there are nightlife zones in Madrid, but you don’t get the misbehaviour you’d see in Nottingham or Oxford centres at night (I’ve lived in all 3). As for the Spanish being mainly drunk, what a ridiculous statement. How many times have we seen a bar regular plump for a coffee or a “sin alcohol”? Or even just have a cana and make that last a while..Not that there aren’t drunks, but that’s something the Brits are perhaps least qualified to lecture on..

  6. ****RICH****. The last time I visited the UK, (Nottingham), a Saturday night and the main square (near the theatre zone) it was full of smackheads, hookers, drunkards urinating and throwing up all over the place and not an officer in sight. I visited Nottingham castle (earlier, during the day) and saw three yobs standing on top of the surrounding wall urinating on passers by. I pointed this out to two nearby police “officers” who were harassing a parked motorist. Their reply? “They look like eastern European’s miduck, (miduck???) we don’t go near em”. (The Guardia Civil would just love that).

    But do visitors denounce the whole of the UK as such??. No of course not. So get off your soap box and accept that EVERY country has it’s maleducados.

  7. Well, you all have me laughing… Thank you for not being too harsh, such a civilized bunch. Essentially you’ve explained why you are in Spain and not in Great Britain. Thanks for the heads up. I guess some of us are drawn to the things we know so well, and when things are bad some take comfort in the thought that they could always be worse. Amparo, I will “sod off” now…

  8. Spain is one place we don’t see drunk people as much as back in the uk. Mainly because the beers are smaller and people eat food at the same time.

    What the hell are you on about Rich? Where have you been to experience all this? please tell more… in a more civilised tone please too!

  9. Some years ago I had a conversation with the head of a large television station in UK, it was at the time when so called “reality” TV was coming to the fore. He thought it was good television, my veiw was, based on personal experience, after airing of such programmes life began to imitate art so to speak. It is my belief I have been proven right. My experence was the reaction of some residents of a cornish village after the showing of a program about another village were, according to the program, the up hill folk did not associate with the down hill folk. The village I lived in had similar geography and within a week some people there began to talk in terms of them up there and us down here. My point is that given the number of police camera action type programs around we get a lot of people who look for the worst in life. To use Rics words “uneducated sheep” perhaps? It might also go some way to explain just why the media is so willing to pick up on stories about Brits being hard done to whilst in another country. Do people feel better about UK if they think Spain or anywhere else is so bad?

  10. I don’t know if Rich is still eyeballing this forum but his assessment of the Spanish mindset is spot on.

    Even those Spanish who have worked for years in other countries choose not to absorb anything from their host countries.

    How could any Spanish that have worked in countries like Germany/Switzerland/Denmark or Sweden then return home and buy an apartment or house built to Spanish ‘standards’. I have asked this question so many times and have never yet received anything like a rational answer.

    As for those who have never left Spain as Rich says they hav’nt got a clue about the real world outside of Spain.

    As to Mary’s statement about how Spain has changed – yes many physical changes have taken place since I first visited Spain in 68 and all this change has taken place with money and lots of it stupidly given to Spain and mostly wasted on ego projects.

    However for the overwhelming majority the mindset has’nt changed at all.

    One comment about the origin of Geoff’s problem – the price of the food – outrageous. The price of a menu de la jour/formula in my part of France is from €10.60 (which is what I pay) – €15 max. This is for 3 courses and for €12 and upward I would expect that to include a 1/4 carafe of wine, for €15 I would expect coffee as well. And I’m not talking deep fried but interesting well cooked food.

    Most of those commentating about drunken behaviour in the UK would do well to remember that they are responsible for producing these drunken scum but choose not to take responsibility for the behaviour of their children and grandchildren – hang on – just the same as the Spanish.

  11. How can one compare the price of a Menu du jour ( jour is masculine, Stuart!) in France to Carta prices in Spain? Are you seriuously telling us that eating out in France is in general cheaper than in Spain? Menu del dia prices average 10 euros here including a drink.

    Another anti-Spain rant!

  12. ‘Most of those commentating about drunken behaviour in the UK would do well to remember that they are responsible for producing these drunken scum but choose not to take responsibility for the behaviour of their children and grandchildren – hang on – just the same as the Spanish.’

    Stuart you are always so off the mark and rude as normal. Have some respect!

    Spanish youth are a lot more civilised than in the uk. Where else would you have mass arranged get togethers and hardly any police… not in English towns that’s for sure!

  13. Bill Stewart,
    you really should stop trying to correct other people’s words when your own English is so bad.

    ‘Menu de la dia prices average €10’ – what a stupid blanket statement that is – applies to the whole of Spain does it.

    Sadly Scotland is’nt known for good food and certainly not at sensible prices.

    The food in Andalucia is deep fried crap compared to even other places in Spain and is way inferior to any decent restaurant in France. I’m sure that nouvelle cuisine is better but like many others I choose not to pay rip-off prices nor do I wish to take an electron microscope to the restaurant to see what is on the plate, nor do I like chips with everything. And please don’t go on like English Damp Squid about eating dishes from other parts of Spain which are about authentic as plastic flowers.

    Trevor – another English speaking with forked tongue – ‘mass arranged get togethers’ – botellions – where thousands of young Spanish set out to get as drunk as possible and leave tons and tons of rubbish behind them, in Granada it needed 300 men to clear it up and in the future a huge health problem to do with binge drinking – why not be direct (I know that’s very difficult for lots of English).

    Fred, Reap,Rich, myself and others have told it like it is – I wish for all those with rose tinted glasses to experience what we and others have had to deal with but would your egos allow you to tell it like it is – I don’t think so.

    Mary the mod – I am a mod on an audio forum set up with very clear principles, one of which was to provide a forum where people could discuss their take on things without being bullied – I don’t allow the ‘brown shirt mentality’ any space at all – little people who would’nt, face to face say boo to a goose but together will attack anyone who does’nt share their view. I can think on many occasions when Fred has been attacked in just this way – I ban them immediately. We have another principle – no one is allowed to mouth off about something they have no personal experience of – if they do they get banned.

    We have really good debates about various audio issues and the pros and cons are dissected in detail – this way others can learn and make informed decisions.

    It bears repeating but had the Olive Press been in existence BEFORE we came to Spain we would’nt have come. I’m sure that those who are inactive, love air conditioning and deep fried food it is heaven on earth but for others?

  14. Stuart you really like to talk a lot.

    You obviously eat in ‘scummy’ (your kind of wording?) places! How can you live here for years and not know amazing places to eat in Andalucia? Must try harder!

    We all know our Spanish phrases thank you. By the way it’s spelt ‘Botellón’.

    You try to be so patronising. I feel sorry for your other forum you moderate?! Jesus!

    Why do you actually live here again?…

  15. Stuart Crawford( I hope only your name is Scottish).

    Once more, the Spanish word for “day” is masculine, as it is in French. You really talk a load of b*ll*cks and I have come to the conclusion that you are nothing more than a troll.

  16. Spain is a third world county –
    Having lived in Granada for 7 years I found most of them unfriendly and opportunist thief’s.
    I realised very early that they don’t have bars up there windows for nothing..
    (I lived in Romania for a few years and never saw bars up windows there)
    Yet when you report a theft in Spain they always blame others – Never there own..
    The Police,People and State are corrupt and very biased towards Brits….
    They love our money but don,t like us.
    There lazy with no work ethics.
    You never see a Spaniard sweating from a days work.. All they want are financial handouts from Europe while they Siesta and fiesta.
    When homes are demolished there always Brits homes yet it was the Brits money that was a major financial injection for there third world country.
    Worst thing I did was to buy a home and live in Spain. The best thing I ever did was sell up and leave..

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.