HUGGER muggers are back on the Costa Blanca after a quiet period for incidents during Spain’s State of Alarm lockdown restrictions.

A 22-year-old Romanian woman was arrested in Benidorm after stealing a watch and gold chain worth over €10,000 from a man at the resort’s bus station.

Huggers have plagued the region for years as they stop victims and give them a tight embrace to thank them for giving help like directions.

Whilst the victim is in a virtual bear-hug, valuable items like jewellery and wallets are snatched, with the hugger then running away with the stolen loot.

Non-Spaniards and the elderly have been the normal targets with the thieves normally operating as a pair or trio, with one of them waiting in a car for a speedy getaway.

In the latest incident, the woman was operating on her own and targetted a 60-year-old man.

Despite fleeing the scene, the Romanian was identified by the Policia Nacional and arrested shortly afterwards.

The Olive Press has reported on a whole series of incidents involving mainly Romanian assailants in hugging incidents across the Costa Blanca in recent years.

Over the last 18 months, the crime catalogue included a duo robbing a Dutch pensioner of a €100,000 watch in Calpe, while two British pensioners in Benissa and Benidorm actually fought back against Romanian huggers, with one of the criminals suffering a broken arm.

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