TWO men have been arrested for scamming small-scale Costa Blanca fruit farmers to the tune of €143,000.

The con involved the duo buttering up a respected farmer in towns such as Callosa de Segura and Almoradi, before using his influence to net new victims.

The alleged scammers would promise payment for fruit – mainly oranges – via checks that would months later turn out to be from closed or empty bank accounts.

Guardia Civil in Torrevieja spent over a year tracking down the scammers, which led to the detention of a 49-year-old Italian in El Jido in Almeria Province.

A second arrest of a 48-year-old Spaniard took place in the Murcia-Alicante border town of Santomera.

Agents uncovered a stream of money moving across the country, as well as into Europe, with a money laundering investigation still in progress.

The Italian man has had his passport seized to stop him fleeing from Spain.

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