Alicante City judicial police want to declare war on pickpockets by having repeat offenders prevented from living in the city. They claim the thieves are tarnishing the city’s reputation as a world-renowned tourism destination, and they also want to see supermarkets and department stores bring private prosecutions against bag-snatchers. Head prosecutor Jorge Rabasa says that in Alicante city alone, up to 30 pickpocketing incidents a day are reported. Spain’s new Penal Code means judges are obliged to send details of any crime to a central court register held by the ministry of justice so that the number of offences an individual commits can be tracked.

On the third pickpocketing attempt, this will normally mean a prison sentence of between one and three years, but for a first sentence the accused does not have to serve a custodial term if this is less than two years. Where bag-snatchers continue on the loose as a result, Rabasa along with other officials and the city police believe the offender should be given an injunction preventing him or her from approaching their area of criminal operation or other parts of the city where they could strike. If the extent of the crime is more serious, the thief should be served with an injunction banning him or her from living in the city altogether.

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