A MASSIVE spate of burglaries has left a group of expats afraid to leave their homes.
An incredible 50 properties have been broken into in the last two months in Chiclana, with thieves stealing everything from cash to laptops and jewellery.
So bad has been the crime spree that some expats have sent valuables back to family in the UK, while residents have slammed the police for doing too little to stop it.
Briton Sharon Willis said: “The Guardia Civil is certainly not doing enough, in most cases they do not even take fingerprints.
“There was always the occasional burglary but it has suddenly got incredibly frequent, every time I go out it is somebody else.”
Another victim, English expat Tracey Kenny, actually caught a burglar red handed on returning to her property after a short 20-minute errand.
“I was so lucky that I came back when I did and stopped them taking everything,” said Kenny, who lives with her two daughters and husband in the hamlet of Pago del Humo.
“I was running on adrenaline and was so angry to see the Spanish-speaking thief running out of my bedroom.”
She continued: “There is definitely an air of fear among the expats here, we had already moved everything of sentimental value to England after hearing so many others had been burgled.”
Kenny reported two rings and a bracelet stolen to the Guardia Civil but was unable to provide a full identification, having only seen the Spanish-speaking man from behind.
Chiclana Foreign Residents Association (ChiFRA) has spoken to police and now issued a warning letter to all members.
President David Fisher also bemoaned the lack of police presence, particularly in the Pago del Humo area.
“I have lived here for 12 years and never known anything like this,” Fisher, 68, told the Olive Press.
“People are scared to leave their homes because they might get burgled.
“One couple left for three hours and had everything taken, including their safe.
“We suspect somebody who knows people around here is keeping watch for empty houses.”