A BRIT has been assaulted after trying to stop Benidorm ‘pea men’ from allegedly conning elderly tourists of their money.
Nathan Smith, 23, and a friend intervened on Calle Gerona where a man was luring passersby with the potato and pea game – also known as the shell game, thimberlig or ‘trileros’ in Spanish.
Smith told The Sun ‘six or seven men’ then ‘grabbed metal bats and knives and attacked us’.
“I got hit quite badly on the back of my head.”
“I was scared for my life, I didn’t know if I was going to come out alive. I got battered and covered in blood.”
“My friend came out of it black and blue, he had a black ear and two black eyes.”
A video shows Smith kicked the floor and pinned as another man whacks him with a bat.
Another British sun-seeker intervened and rescued Nathan, who said that he had previously seen an elderly woman ‘scammed’ by the group.
In the video, Nathan tells the camera: “We were stopping someone getting ripped off. I was here two months ago and they defrauded an old woman.”
Another Brit tourist says: “Stay away. Don’t even go near the group because there’s six or seven of them working together.”
According to a video posted on local news site Benidorm Seriously, the ‘pea men’ allegedly have ‘plants’ in the crowd who appear to win big.
Passersby are ‘lured’ in to the easy pickings before losing their €20 or €50 wager.
The police are reportedly able to do little to help. Gambling in the street is illegal in Spain, but as the pea men are playing a game it is the tourist offering money who is breaking the law.
Police will only detain someone accused of conning tourist if they are found with more than €400 on them – something they never ‘carry’, according to the explainer page.
Tourists on trip advisor have also complained about the scam.
“It looks fun and a ‘plant’ wins. Pickpockets are mingling and there are look-out men. You lose every time, and probably your wallet,” wrote Jules.
“Walk on, don’t stop!”