Spanish police said Thursday they had smashed two rings suspected of helping British citizens illegally obtain residence permits by providing them with forged documents.
Officers arrested 47 people when they moved against the two gangs operating in the southern beach resort of Marbella and the Spanish enclave of Ceuta in North Africa, said a police statement.
For all the latest headlines follow our Google News channel online or via the app.
They allegedly provided Britons with fake versions of the documents needed to qualify for residency, such as rental contracts, bank statements and bills, the statement added.
“Both networks, which had no links between them, used the same modus operandi to regularize British nationals, obtaining a profit of around 1,600 euros per person,” it said.
British citizens lost the automatic right to live and work in Spain when Britain’s exit from the European Union came into force in 2021.
But under the so-called Withdrawal Agreement, Britons who could prove they were living in Spain before the end of 2020 though documents such as rental contracts or bank statement could obtain residency.
Police said officials had so far identified 120 requests for residency under this agreement that had been backed by false documents supplied by the two rings.
At least three of the requests were from “criminals who aimed to hide” in the southern province of Malaga on Spain’s Costa del Sol, home to a huge British community.
Among those arrested were three of the suspected heads of the gang that operated in Marbella, and two of the leaders of the ring from Ceuta.
The suspects face charges of membership in a criminal organization, aiding illegal immigration and document fraud.
There were around 290,000 Britons legally living in Spain at the start of 2022, according to national statistics office INE, making them the fourth largest foreign community in the country.
Spanish PM Sanchez arrives in Ukraine for talks with Zelenskyy
UK’s biggest supermarket chain joins rivals in limiting vegetable sales over shortage
Cross-border Gibraltar workers to retain free movement even after Brexit: SpainCross-border workers who commute between Gibraltar and Spain will be exempt from border controls after Brexit even if no agreement on free movement is ... World News
Spain breaks up gang smuggling Albanian migrants to BritainSpanish police said Saturday they have broken up a gang suspected of smuggling Albanian migrants, including minors, into Britain hidden as stowaways ... World News
Britain may toughen summer travel curbs for Spain-bound travelersBritish ministers plan to warn holidaymakers against visiting destinations such as Spain and may create a new list of countries at high risk of moving ... Coronavirus
Spain detains suspected drug smuggler on Britain’s most-wanted listSpanish police said Monday they have arrested a suspected British drug trafficking boss who is listed among Britain’s ten most wanted fugitives World News