BURGLARS are on the prowl in Bocairent (inland Valencia province).
Paul Bailey, an English homeowner and resident for the last five years at Rincón del Cerezo urbanisation - located in the Serra de Mariola mountains between Bocairent and Alcoi - told CLNews that 16 of the 20 properties have been burgled over the last three weeks alone.
The remaining four that have so far avoided falling prey to the robbers are reportedly the only homes that are occupied all year round - one by Mr Bailey and another three by Spanish families.
Most of the targetted properties are second homes, mostly Spanish-owned but several belonging to British holidaymakers and which are currently standing empty.
"The last time the burglars came was Thursday night," Mr Bailey reported on Friday morning.
"Our neighbours had fitted an alarm and when it went off they rushed out and chased the trespassers through the forest, but were unable to catch or properly identify them.
"The Guardia Civil were called but arrived half an hour late, as they are severely overstretched.
"It is a gang of four or more people, who empty out everything they can from the houses including televisions, kitchen appliances, solar batteries and chargers, hobs from the cooker, electrical fittings..."
According to Mr Bailey, the thieves often break down doors and trash the houses, on one occasion leaving all the loot outside on the road ready to pass by and collect later on.
"The Camping Mariola located opposite has also been broken into three times over the last 18 months," he adds.
"We need more security, as it is a rural area without mains connection, running on solar energy and batteries, and there is a severe shortage of Guardia Civil officers."
A burgled property