UK tourists in France this summer warned not to carry 'watches or handbags'

UK tourists visiting Paris have been issued an urgent travel warning over the dangers of crime, gangs and theft. This summer, Paris - the capital of France - will play host to the eagerly-anticipated and widely-awaited 2024 Summer Olympic Games.

But UK holidaymakers crossing the English Channel to watch the action in July and August have been "warned of gangs, fraud and theft". Paris’s chief prosecutor, Laure Beccuau, warned: "We are expecting the arrival of Eastern European and South American gangs that specialise in ripping luxury watches, jewellery, and handbags off tourists."

In an interview with Le Parisien, Beccuau warned of an anticipated rise in "sexual assaults, rapes [and] fights" fuelled by increased alcohol consumption during the event. She also predicted a surge in fraud schemes, from fake tickets and online rental scams to illegal taxis.

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“In reality, they are the same types of offences that await tourists ... each summer in Paris,” she told France Info. "Imagine a Brazilian who has their bag stolen by an Italian. There is no question of summoning the parties [for trial] several months later. It would not make any sense. Besides, we don’t want to clog up the judicial system," Beccuau stressed.

Paris’s chief prosecutor said there will be an estimated 16 million visitors including some 1.5 million tourists, 500,000 Brits who are anticipated to attend the Olympics which will most likely see a huge surge in criminal activity.

Discussing hotels earlier this year, tourism boss Corinne Menegaux said: “We expect an occupation rate between 60 and 70 per cent.” Ms Menegaux, director-general of Paris je t’aime – the capital’s tourist office – said most visitors during the Games will be “local and national”.

Christophe Decloux, director-general for tourism in the Paris Region – comprising the Ile de France – said: “We have 160,000 rooms in the Paris Region – which is more than London had in 2012. So we have what it takes to accommodate everybody. What we compare to is London in 2012 – where the the hotels in London were very expensive at the beginning and they had to bring down the prices."