Brits find squatters have moved into Ibiza house and changed locks

Brits fly out to their Ibiza holiday home to find a Spanish family of squatters have moved in, changed the locks and are selling their possessions to make money

  • Head of the CPS Extradition Unit in legal battle with squatters over holiday home
  • This is the latest in a string of stories of Spain’s ‘legal vacuum’ over squatters 

A veteran Crown Prosecution Service lawyer has revealed he and his wife are trying to evict squatters from their Spanish holiday home after arriving for a sunshine break with their children to find another family and other strangers inside.

Marc Robinson, head of the CPS Extradition Unit, is involved in a legal battle in Ibiza to recover his holiday home after flying to Ibiza during the Easter holidays to find that the locks had been changed, Spanish outlet The Objective revealed today.

The Robinsons flew to the Spanish island with their daughters on 4 April and found the lights were on and somebody was home at their property in the municipality of San Antonio, the publication reported.

The couple called police who spoke to a man inside said to have admitted he was squatting there with his wife and two children because he ‘didn’t have anywhere else to live’.

Mrs Robinson told The Objective: ‘It appears they’ve been selling our belongings. We’re certain an expensive bicycle we had in the house is not there anymore.

‘When we finally gain access we’ll have to see if we end up accusing them of theft or criminal damage.’ 

Sunbathers at the Arsenal Beach in San Antonio on Ibiza, pictured on 19 June 2015 

A friendly neighbour is understood to have told the Robinsons they saw at least another four men in the garden when officers left.

Mr Robinson’s wife Sophie told The Objective that nearly a month on, they are still trying to recover their property after filing two separate complaints with a local court.

READ MORE: British mother, 46, says ‘tenants from hell’ have destroyed her dream Spanish holiday home and left her £50k in debt 

One is a lawsuit against the squatters which she told the publication hasn’t even been admitted for processing yet.

Mrs Robinson told The Objective: ‘The police report hasn’t reached the court yet and preliminary proceedings to evict them from our house still haven’t been opened.

‘The Civil Guard told us they couldn’t do anything because when they arrived, there was only a man, a woman and two children they couldn’t evict without a court order because they say they’re a family and don’t have anywhere else to live.

‘But we know there are more people in the house and it should be easy for the police to prove it.

‘We don’t understand how it’s possible that there’s a legal vacuum where it comes to squatters in Spain.’

Revealing the couple had contacted a private ‘squatter eviction’ firm to try to resolve the situation, she added: ‘They are in Ibiza talking with the people who have taken over our house.

‘We want them to leave as soon as possible.

Mr Robinson, who studied history at the London School of Economics and Political Science before going on to study law in Chester, was a trainee solicitor in London and Hong Kong before becoming a university law lecturer and then joining the CPS in March 2004.

He describes online how he ‘cut his teeth prosecuting at Bow Street Magistrates Court and the West London Youth Court’ whilst managing Crown Court cases and graduating to prosecuting kidnappings and serious money laundering cases.

He moved to the Homicide Team at the Old Bailey in 2008.

In later years, before taking up his current post as unit head at the CPS Extradition Unit he worked as a UK Liaison Magistrate to Spain and assisted Spain’s Ministry of Justice with the formation of the Spanish Asset Recovery Office.

Aerial view of sunset over Ibiza on a winter evening with view of the fortress and the old town

The story is the latest in a string of similar accounts of people arriving home in Spain to find their property has been taken over by squatters. 

In July 2020 a British family had to cancel their holiday after squatters broke into their luxury home in Javea north of Benidorm and occupied it illegally.

A housekeeper found the locks broken on the five-bedroom property and strangers’ clothes hung up on a washing line when she went to get the villa ready for the Brits’ arrival.

The owners ended up paying the squatters 10 nights in a hostel to get rid of them.

Spain is infamous for its slowness in evicting squatters, leaving property owners who fall victim with the feeling they have virtually no protection against the problem.

Courts can take more than a year to resolve cases and many homeowners end up paying private firms specialising in dealing with squatters or gifting the squatters cash to move out.

Professional squatters know how to stay in victims’ houses as long as possible, and often pay middlemen to be able to access empty homes including tourists’ holiday homes.

A Spanish nurse told in June 2020 how squatters entered her home in the Catalan town of Vic after she had to transfer to a nearby town for work and put it up for sale and couldn’t visit because of the coronavirus lockdown.

Pilar Damian told Spanish TV: ‘I called the estate agency to ask them to go round and they told me they couldn’t get it.

‘They called a locksmith and together with my brother and the police, we tried to open the door.

‘The squatter appeared as we were doing so, sat down on the sofa and said he wasn’t moving.

‘The police told us we had to leave because otherwise we could have problems, and advised us to lodge a formal complaint with the courts.

‘I thought it was going to be quick but a month later I’m being told by my lawyers it could last a year or more.

‘The squatter appears to have done this sort of thing before. A week after he entered the property he had a duty lawyer and he had hired broadband internet so he had a bill he could use to register himself as living at the house.

‘It’s terrible this is happening to me and thousands of other people all over Spain. I feel like I have no rights.’

Home owner Helen France said ‘the tenants from hell’ made her life a ‘living nightmare’ by leaving her dream home, including the kitchen (pictured) in a terrible state

In 2019, British mother Helen France spoke of her trouble getting rid of squatters at her holiday home in Alicante, Spain.

She said after ignoring eviction notices the renters threatened to kill her and even left a knife wedged in the sofa as a warning to her. 

The kitchen was left destroyed with holes in the cupboards and pink graffiti sprayed up the walls and appliances. 

Helen’s debt continued to grow after losing over £10,000 on unpaid rent, bills and solicitor’s fees. 

The Civil Guard in Ibiza and the courts there have yet to comment on the case involving the Robinsons.

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