Palma.—The President of the Balearic Retail Federation, Bartolomé Servera expressed his concern yesterday that the image of the Islands as a “safe and welcoming” holiday destination is being challenged by the increase in attacks on tourists, ultimately ending up in robbery, using prostitutes as a distraction.

The subject was a matter for discussion between Servera and the new Central Government Delegate in the Balearics, Teresa Palmer at a meeting held in Palma.

Servera claimed that even within the last few days, there has been a growing number of incidents along the Playa de Palma where a tourist has been singled out by a group of thieves who use a prostitute to lull him into a false sense of security.

The victim, said Servera, suddenly finds himself surrounded and then before he knows it he is minus his wallet. “This image of Majorca is ruining the trust that traditional holidaymaker has in the island,” said Servera.

He took the opportunity to criticise the current police strategy of arresting the perpetrators and almost immediatley allowing the alleged prostitutes and thieves to go free. Servera said he was pleased that he had the chance to speak to Palmer about the problem, “which after all threatens all of us,” he said.