British couple thrown in jail and fined in row over £12 paella


British couple thrown in jail and fined in row over £12 paella

A British couple on a cycling holiday in Spain had their trip turned upside down over a "non-existent" paella.

Geoff Cox and his girlfriend Bridget Keyes, from Newdigate in Surrey, found themselves thrown in a Spanish jail and handed a large fine of around £600 when they refused to pay for a paella they didn't eat.

The couple had been enjoying a trip from Cordoba to Granada, and stopped to enjoy some local fare in the latter.

But, at the end of the meal, they saw an extra paella, worth €15, had been added to the bill.

They refused to pay it and all hell broke loose.

According to This Is Surrey Today, Mr Cox said: "We pointed this out and he went off like a firecracker and a row ensued.

"We put down €105 and said we would pay that, but he wanted €120.

"It got a bit ugly and when he said he would call the police we said, 'Right, fine', because we were certain they would side with us."

But when the police arrived, the pair were arrested. They were thrown in separate cells for the night, were fingerprinted, had their shoelaces confiscated, and were given no food or water.

The next day they were given access to a lawyer and a translator.

Speaking to the the Express, Mr Cox said: "I was told I was charged with assault on the police, resisting arrest and defrauding a restaurant, that these were criminal charges and I could get a year in jail. Plus we were told the police had filed for damages against us."

When the case was put before the court seven hours later the criminal charges were dropped.

But the Spanish prosecutor still ensured they had to pay a €78 fine, and damages to the police of €250 each.

The couple also had to pay €200 to come back to Granada from the next stop on their holiday, Seville, to have attend court two days later.

They estimated the incident cost them around €700 (£600) in total.

Speaking to the Daily Mail, Mr Cox said: "I'm an ordinary, middle class, respectable citizen who has never had any trouble with the police.

"It's a bloody outrage and we must still make sure our fine gets paid to the right place.

"If it gets lost in the system we could find ourselves facing a European extradition warrant, so I'm still worried about it."

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