Daily Mirror

Dark side of Ibiza

From drugs to targeted theft.. Zara McDermott uncovers shocking secrets of the infamous party island

- BY MARK JEFFERIES Showbiz Editor Mark.jefferies@mirror.co.uk @mirrorjeff­ers ZARA MCDERMOTT ON TOUGH JOB SPANISH POLICE NOW FACE

IT’S late at night and Ibiza’s streets are heaving with clubbers, but Zara McDermott is in no mood to party.

The Love Islander feels surrounded by menace. With just four police officers on duty at Playa D’en Bossa, the Spanish island’s party heartland, the crowd of around 30,000 holidaymak­ers feels more sinister than social.

Zara, 27, has come to the island where she once partied to make a documentar­y about its darker side, as wealthy partygoers have attracted drug dealers and organised crime gangs.

Shadowing Guardia Civil officers for Ibiza: Secrets of the Party Island, she soon comes across frightenin­g scenes.

The officers rush to the scene of a Rolex watch theft – it’s a common event on the island as criminals can net thousands of euros in seconds from one wealthy victim.

Zara says: “It was shocking when it happened.

“We got the call and we were there within a minute on the strip. I felt so sorry for this guy, he had been on his phone to his wife and a guy had taken the watch. He tried to run after him and fell over.

“He was quite shaken up. “Standing on that exact spot where there had been gangs watching people and looking at their jewellery, it felt quite eerie, you never know who else is being targeted or watched.”

“It was so eye-opening and having been to the island many times before I certainly now look over my shoulder a bit more.”

She says of watch thieves: “They fly themselves and their girlfriend­s out and what happens is they can steal a watch and put it on their girlfriend’s wrist and send them to other countries.

“They are really easily taken out of the island. That was incredible to me how quickly they can get out of the island. The police have to work fast.”

In the film she adds: “With watch stealing it is an instant hit of €50,000 or €100,000. The most expensive watch stolen was over a million euros.

“The saturation of wealthy people driving around is huge. This is a playground for organised crime really.” The

Some of the gangs check into five-star hotels MARCUS SECURITY GUARD ON IBIZA

Spanish police also show her footage of a watch being stolen from someone in a car at a petrol station.

The timepiece, worth €500,000, was snatched by two men who sped away on a motorbike.

The victim had been followed after leaving his five-star hotel.

On this occasion, police managed to recover the watch. Huge amounts of money are splurged by people showing off their wealth in Ibiza.

One firm can charge up to £100,000 to throw a party at a top villa. For that, party hosts get DJs, posh food, the finest champagne and even trapeze artists while they party at a plush location.

Nightclubs can charge anything up to £30,000 for a VIP table.

And some of the clubbers those VIPs mingle with are higher-ranking members of the crime gangs. They are

known to frequent upmarket clubs, spotting potential targets.

But the super-rich are taking measures against being victimised, by hiring private security operatives.

Security guard Marcus tells Zara: “Street level crime now is very sophistica­ted. The targeted watch gangs, everybody knows here that they’re from Italy, the Neapolitan Mafia as they call them.

“Some of the gangs that come here even check themselves into five-star hotels for two months.


“That’s a working expense that’s got to be covered, before they start putting money in their pockets.”

Last month the newspaper Diario De Ibiza reported that 35 members of a violent internatio­nal gang dedicated to stealing luxury watches in locations including Ibiza had been arrested. The gang originated from Naples, Italy, but arrests were made around Europe.

Later in the series Zara also speaks to a drug dealer who says he has been working on the island for 18 years.

He tells her during one summer a street dealer can make €50,000. Zara says: “When I post I am in Ibiza, I actually had people posting and offering me drugs. It is interestin­g how people are using social media to sell drugs.

“It is not just something you find down a back alley, it is on your Instagram. Everyone knows drugs exist everywhere and are somewhat part of Ibiza culture, but having been sat in the back of a police car many times and learning... street dealers are making huge amounts of money because they are taking the risk.”

Zara says of shadowing police: “Last night was one of my scariest nights on the island. You hear about these things but seeing it was a different experience.

“I have walked down the streets and seen people wearing expensive watches and jewellery. With the levels of wealth, the landscape of crime is changing here.

“I came away from the documentar­y feeling really empathetic towards the officers in the Guardia Civil, who are the national police, and the local police who work on the island.

“I could see how overwhelmi­ng it was.” But her documentar­y is not all doom and gloom, as Zara also gets to meet Tony Truman and Wayne Lineker, who are having fun running the O Beach club in San Antonio.

Zara, who is dating I’m A Celebrity winner Sam Thompson, 31, adds: “I remember going to Ibiza about two years ago with my partner for a lastminute getaway and found that it had changed drasticall­y. The level of wealth really shocked me.”

Zara worked for the Department for Education as a policy adviser before she was on the fourth series of Love Island.

She has appeared on Sam’s show Made In Chelsea and last year danced with Graziano Di Prima on Strictly Come Dancing. Her RISE clothing brand is stocked at Tesco.

And as she is now making documentar­ies, including last year’s Gaia: A Death on Dancing Ledge, some say she will become the “new Stacey Dooley” for the BBC.

Ibiza: Secrets of the Party Island airs on BBC Three and

BBC iPlayer from Sunday.

 ?? ?? CLUB HUB DJs attract partygoers. Below, police officer takes details
CLUB HUB DJs attract partygoers. Below, police officer takes details
 ?? STASH Illegal drugs that cops confiscate­d ??
STASH Illegal drugs that cops confiscate­d
 ?? ??
 ?? ?? HAUL Cash seized by Guardia Civil on Ibiza
HAUL Cash seized by Guardia Civil on Ibiza
 ?? ?? ON DUTY Zara with police as she makes film
CAREER BREAK Zara began her fame on reality TV
I came away from the documentar­y empathetic towards the Guardia Civil
ON DUTY Zara with police as she makes film CAREER BREAK Zara began her fame on reality TV I came away from the documentar­y empathetic towards the Guardia Civil

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