Barcelona travel warning issued for Brits but 'we don't want to scare tourists'

UK tourists in Barcelona who carry credit cards have been warned to ensure they are leaving some of their plastic behind - amid a spate of thefts and pickpockets. Spain holidaymakers in the European Union have been warned to take drastic action.

"Sadly there are many pickpockets in popular tourist areas, so be aware in busy tourist places, airports, train stations, metro and also in your hotel lobby," it warned. "Pickpockets in Barcelona are generally not violent. They target handbags, phones and wallets, which they try to steal without the owner noticing."

It added: "Barcelona does have a bad reputation for petty theft and pickpockets and tourist areas are rife with pickpockets and petty thieves. If you use your common sense and take some simple precautions, you will be not be robbed."

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It said: "In other areas of Barcelona pickpockets are not a problem. We do not want to scare visitors by posting many stories about specific robberies but you need to know that many tourists do get robbed of phones and bags every day in Barcelona."

Tips include to "dress as you would back home" so as to ensure you aren't in a "tourist uniform", which could make you a target, and be discreet with guidebooks and maps, as well as ensuring you watch your bag at cafes, bars and restaurants.

They warn people to never flash your tech items, including to NEVER put smart phones on tables while out dining. They also say to wear your backpack in front, don't bring expensive watches and be wary of distractions. Other tips include to stay away from street games, don't carry all credits cards and keep cash in a separate pocket.

Responding to the guide, a holidaymaker said: "Is it that dangerous?" A second asked: "If I have to do this to go somewhere it's not worth it!" A third said:: "I'm from Guatemala. I have never been robbed before. But in Barcelona someone stole my phone."

Another said: "I stayed for a week in Barcelona in March and never had a problem with pickpockets."