Open Letter to Irish Fans in Barcelona for Andorra V Ireland Euro 2012 Qualifier

October 3, 2011
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(The football game has been moved to Andorra, but sufficient numbers have bought flights via Barcelona to make this worthwhile.)

As seen in Ireland’s Sunday World newspaper on October 2nd, we will circulate this letter to Irish fans arriving at Barcelona airport on October 7th.

Welcome to Barcelona

You will be Robbed!

This city is going through a crime wave and you’re arriving in the middle of it.

Robbed in Barcelona ( brings you information on the most common tricks.

1. The Ronaldinho. Friendly guy comes over, sticks out his hand. Tourist shakes it and the guy jokingly pretends to “tackle” the tourist, football style. The startled tourist doesn’t notice guys hand in his back pocket. Typically the guy just throws the wallet on the ground where his buddy picks it up. Game over.

2. Ooops I dropped my phone. Tourist on the metro, guy drops his mobile on the ground. Helpful tourist bends over to pick it up, wallet gone.

3. Sign my petition. Several people come up to tourist with a clipboard asking them to sign a petition. Others arrive, creating a fuss. Tourist distracted, wallet gone.

4. Coffee table magic. Guy comes over to tourists sitting at a cafe. Tries to sell CD’s or flowers or ask directions on a map. When he leaves, the phone/wallet that was on the table goes with him.

5. Take my flyer. He gives with one hand, takes with the other.

For more (including the “2-door taxi”) visit

Danger areas: The old city and gothic quarter are infested, Montjuic too. The metro (especially the yellow line) is also problematic. Don’t assume that museums are safe; we have heard of incidents in the Aquarium and the shop at the Camp Nou. Robbers often target those who have had a few drinks, so pay particular attention at night and strongly consider leaving everything of value in your hotel.

What to do when it happens:
Do try to recover your stuff but don’t use violence, Spanish law will not be on your side.

Please please do report it to the Police. Reporting is a pain but the more that report the better. Police stations are at Nou de la Rambla and under Plaça Catalunya. You’ll see the queues of tourists at the door. Your hotel will have the details (they are well used to it).

If you do get robbed when in Barcelona, please let us know about it:

• Visit and post in the comments section of this story.
• On Twitter: @RiBcN
• Email: thousands ./at\.
• On Facebook: (please join the 3,235 victims already there)

Best wishes to the Republic of Ireland in its game against Andorra!

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18 Responses to Open Letter to Irish Fans in Barcelona for Andorra V Ireland Euro 2012 Qualifier

  1. Dave on October 3, 2011 at 11:42 am

    Extra note, do not fight them, they tend to carry knives and will stab you. Someone got killed just the other day in an incident concerning 2 Moroccan thieves and a bicycle.

    • Rob Daly on October 3, 2011 at 11:48 am

      You mentioned a nationality, I removed it, can you point to a media source where this was confirmed, I’ll reinstate if so. I want to do a story on this in any case.

      • Rob Daly on October 5, 2011 at 3:18 pm

        The nationality has been confirmed by local media. I’ll reinstate the nationality in your original comment now.

  2. fergal on October 3, 2011 at 6:11 pm

    Don’t know if it’s mentioned elsewhere as a technique that’s used by thieves in Barcelona but here’s how I was robbed.
    I was with a group of 8 people on the subway and we disembarked at one of the main city centre stations. As myself and one of the group were going up the escalators a guy pushed in between us and then stood right in front of us. I instinctively patted the pocket where my wallet was. Big mistake.
    When we got to the top of the escalators this guy dropped his “ticket” and spread his legs and armms out bending over to pick it up. Of course this meant that everyone travelling on the escalator, including his accomplices, piled into each other for a couple of seconds. He then stood up and left the station with another couple of Arab guys and girls. I knew straight away what had just happened and reached down to my pocket. Wallet gone. Myself and the three guys I was with took off after them and we spotted the guy who had dropped his ticket. He ran but we caught him. He didn’t have the wallet and we were going to give him a hiding when a car screeched up behind us and 5 or 6 guys got out and made for us. We ran and that was that. Still regret that we didn’t give him a few digs at least.
    Great city but really seedy late at night.

  3. Brian Patrick on October 3, 2011 at 7:02 pm

    Indeed! Loud, looking like you don’t know where you’re going, probably drunk, wearing sandals and shorts, you will get robbed in Barcelona. Try fitting in! I lived in BCN for three years as an ex-pat and was never robbed once. Never even attempted.

  4. […] recently established website (, has published an open letter to all Irish soccer fans set to travel to the city, under the […]

  5. […] Una de ellas es el Ronaldinho: “Un tipo se te acerca y te da la mano amigablemente. El turista da la mano y el tipo te hace un gesto como si te hiciera una falta en fútbol. El turista, asustado, no se da cuenta de que le han metido la mano en el bolsillo. Lo […]

  6. declan on October 4, 2011 at 5:29 pm

    Fair play to you boss. A number of my friends have been robbed in Barca, as described above, including a garda. Phones, wallets have been taken.Fair play to you for publicising it, its a chronic problem there. It’s still one of my favourite cities but you should be paranoid about getting robbed there, as you’re suggesting. I’ve warned people in advance and they’ve still been robbed!

    • Rob Daly on October 4, 2011 at 5:40 pm

      Thanks for dropping us a note, it’s appreciated! :)

      • judith o'lochlainn on October 4, 2011 at 9:36 pm

        i hadnt finished

  7. judith o'lochlainn on October 4, 2011 at 9:34 pm

    Everything they say about Barcelon is true. My husband, brother in lawy and twp of my friends were robbed as follows:

    1. A man dropped his keys at top of excalator in metro. While my husband, who was behind him was falling over him, his accomplise stole his wallet.
    2. My brother in law’s car was flagged down by thieves who had punctured the tyre of his car. While they were pretending to help him, they robbed his car.

    2. My friends son who is a professional sportsman, had his wallet stolen from his tray while he was carrying his foot from the counter in a restuarant to his table. He has travelled the world and had never had anything stolen befor or since

    • Rob Daly on October 5, 2011 at 11:54 am

      Judith, thank you for sharing, consider having a look at our group at where many people are sharing similar stories.

  8. Brian on October 5, 2011 at 11:48 am

    Put your personal belongings in your socks eg cash notes, cards and phone. Keep coins in your pocket in your wallet. If they rob you they will get a couple of euros. Also zipped inner pockets are the way to go.

    • Rob Daly on October 5, 2011 at 11:52 am

      Only difficulty with this is: 1. It’s over 20 degrees in Barcelona at the moment, no one is wearing socks. Do phones fit in socks?
      Would be more wise to not bring a wallet. Period.

  9. Ken on October 5, 2011 at 4:51 pm

    Thank you for providing this very useful website. Great non-nonsense advice.

  10. […] have about 1000 Irish visitors a day to this site at the moment, following our recent Open Letter to Irish Fans Visiting Barcelona for the football match this Friday night, so we though it an opportune moment to publish another […]

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