The Pea/Potato Men

WARNING - THE BENIDORM PEA MEN. DO NOT stop, as enticing as it seems with all the cheering and clapping. The majority of the so called spectators are actually members of the gang trying to lure you to stop and take part. They will wave a 20€ or even 50€ note saying they had just won and how easy it is. There is no such thing as a free lunch - you will possibly also lose your wallet in the process as they also work with local pickpockets = expert thieves who will mingle with the distracted people in the crowd and steal their valuables which is why it is important to have nothing to do with them, DO NOT EVEN STOP TO WATCH, CROSS THE ROAD.  This is the oldest con game in the world - and we are amazed that ANYBODY would fall for it! This is similar to the game Chase the Ace/Hunt the lady, which is played with cards and seen all over the world.

But in Benidorm thousands of people still fall for it every year!  It works like this...A guy will shuffle three shells/potatoes - one of which has a pea or a pebble under it. He will take bets from the crowd - can they guess which shell (or egg-cup etc) the pea (or pebble) is under.He will have a few "plants" in the crowd - and they will win. He will make it easy to guess where the pea is - when YOUR money is not involved. But as soon as you put your money down - he will win easily - He will take your money EVERY TIME!  These men are expert hustlers and you cannot beat them!

We receive countless posts on the facebook group about the police doing nothing regarding the pea men.

Think it´s time we pointed out a few issues that result in the police not actually being able to do very much. Laws in Spain can be complex just like many laws in the UK. The Pea Men are VERY aware of the law. Lets have a look at this closely.

1. It is not illegal to play a game in the street.
2. It is illegal to gamble in the street.
3. The Pea men are not gambling…they are pretending to gamble. There is a big difference under law.
4. When a tourist decides to join in the game by placing a bet, it is the tourist who is breaking the law, not the Pea Men. Remember Gambling is illegal. (This would also apply to a Police Officer in plain clothes)
5. The Pea Men are still not gambling…they are aware it is a trick, so therefore no gamble.
6. The money is offered by the tourist. That is not theft.

In short the only people the police can actually arrest in theory is the tourist. For the police to be able to act against the pea men they must be able to PROVE that the game is deliberately set up as a scam for the purpose of conning tourists. To try to define what is deliberate, the law states a figure of 400€ must be found on the person/people carrying out the scam. The Pea Men are aware of this and simply make sure they do not carry that amount at any one time. This effectively means the Police can do absolutely nothing other than confiscate a cardboard box and a few potatoes and warn them. The surrounding pick pockets are the only ones the Police can actually act against. However, to achieve anything they basically have to catch them red handed carrying out the act. It is not illegal to have money in their pockets and unless they have been foolish enough to hold on to a wallet or purse again they get a warning and off they go.

Stop expecting the Police to act outside of the law and use some common sense. When you see them…WALK ON. Stop to watch and you are inviting trouble.

Update 26th August -Benidorm approves to request a reform of the law so that the trile is considered a crime

The plenary session of the City Council today approved, unanimously and urgently, a motion urging the General Courts to reform the law so that the practice of "illegal activities", such as 'the trile', "do not enjoy the impunity with which current legislation treats them 


All other information about CRIME and SCAMS can be found in this section of the WEBSITE


0 # Gary Bowcott 2018-08-02 12:04
A fool & his money are soon parted........if something looks too good to be true then it usually is.
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0 # david mitchell 2019-03-15 18:39
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0 # Julie Handley 2018-08-25 16:13
Never ever go near them. We always give them a wide berth!
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0 # Colin Metcalfe 2018-08-25 16:18
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0 # Hazel Edgar 2018-08-25 19:06
I knew 19 years ago the first time I went to Benidorm they were con men first time seeing them was all I needed to spot its was a con game so obvious
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0 # Yvonne Evans 2018-08-26 01:34
Been watching those con men for the last 24 years of spending the winter months in Benidorm,
How I wish the reps would warn people about them when they are coached in and also notices could be put up in all hotel rooms
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0 # admin 2018-08-28 23:37
The Local Benidorm Police makes 33 interventions (arrests) in August to try to end this illegal practice that takes place in the streets of the tourist capital commonly known as Peamen.

The agents raised 22 acts for disobedience to the authority that have been transferred to the court.

Unwilling participants in the illegal game play catch-up with those who decide to bet their money to try to find out where the “little ball” is.

They use a cardboard box as a table and a kind of goblets to hide a ball that ends up being the center of all eyes, tourists and accomplices, who try to follow the hands of the one who moves without success.

The first time the tourist may win and double their bet; the second one sure no longer. It is the game of the “trile” , an illegal practice that can be seen every day in the streets of Benidorm, such as Paseo de Levante or Calle Filipinas.

But for some time, those who try to earn money at the expense of those who bet face a police arrest that makes them have to figure out new ways to continue with their scam.

Police actions have now intensified in recent weeks and in August the Local Police of Benidorm carried out 33 interventions in the streets to in an attempt to stop this illegal practice.

That is, practically one per day of this summer month. The last this past weekend in which local troops have had an intense job in which they managed to intercept the money and utensils of these “players”.

Agents monitor each point to try to prevent the “trileros” from making the money from tourists with the help of accomplices who also bet on each game to encourage users.

Bets are usually 20 or 50 euros that go up until at the table you can see dozens of tickets.

Police were able to seize 1,210 euros from these “trileros”, according to police sources.

All of them are sanctioned administratively and seized the material they were using in addition to the bills they carry over at that time. Until now, and for many years, little more could be done since most of them declared themselves insolvent so they did not face these fines.

Now, the Local Police of Benidorm has another tool with which to try to eradicate this practice: that of denouncing the “trileros” for disobedience to the authority , an offense that does include the Penal Code in article 556.1.

That is to say, for repeating in the same punishable question in spite of the warnings and the sanctions imposed by the agents, case in which “is one of the trileros”, explained sources of the Council of Public Safety.

Thus, of those 33 interventions, 22 of them have finished with records for that crime defined in the Penal Code and have been transferred to the court.

Information provided by Diario Informacion
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0 # Tracy Brown 2018-09-14 11:04
Robbers, should be deported or locked up. The police should approach them in plane clothes as they have look outs looking for the police. Totally scum and they are destroying Bennidorm
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0 # Jean Dormand 2018-09-14 11:07
Scum of the earth.
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0 # Jean Dormand 2018-09-14 11:12
I don’t think they are Spanish so it should be easy to deport them.
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0 # Eileen Guy 2018-09-14 11:27
Terrible... nothing but scamming thief’s there all in it standing at corners looking out for the police they all kiddon they are just watching but there pick pocketing you.. a total disgrace people need to be more aware of them and need to learn just to walk past them and don’t entertain them!
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0 # Jean Dormand 2018-09-14 11:38
We were up by the market last December and old elderly English bloke was standing by and me and another English woman tried to warn him.
He said he’d won €50 and the other woman said it’s probably fake,
I told him he must have been recruited to be part of their gang!
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0 # Andy Parnham 2018-09-14 11:40
All I say if your fool enough to fall for it then more fool you. If I could scam people out of money that easily then I would and so would many others .
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0 # Julie Marsh 2018-09-16 13:59
The lowest of the low. Yep first year I ever went I fell for it. Wouldn't believe the people round them were in on it. But I warn people now.
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0 # Jay Purton 2018-09-23 19:13
We always ignore them, but u will always get these people thinking they can win then don’t and then moan
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0 # Ian 2019-02-23 21:49
Not just into potatoe or pea these guys try and Rob you on the streets when you get off your transfer, they follow you too your hotel we had this last week told them in a polite manner to do one, they also run prostitution keep well away.
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0 # Tracy Ann 2019-04-04 12:06
Benidorm town hall release figures showing that there were 1,400 people denounced by the police for street scams (peamen), illegal beach drink sellers, and other similar acts last year.
The tip to not get caught out? Just walk on by...........
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0 # Stephen Rowcroft 2019-04-24 16:18
Saw them yesterday on the Sea front,and there was a large crowd.I tried to warn people but the fools just ignored me but people still got scammed and when the lookouts saw a
police car coming they scattered like hell
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0 # Jill Shail 2019-04-24 20:30
Yes sadly people do still get caught out by then. Its best just to stay away from them. If you try to warn people they can turn quite nasty. x
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0 # Jean doherty 2019-06-06 16:08
Most of the crowd is relations and sad to say. Some English are also in the crowd doing for a small payment
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0 # Tracy Ann 2019-05-09 13:01
These people are not just here in Benidorm - 26 "Peamen" detained in one operation in Palma Mallorca yesterday.

Note: In Benidorm last year there were more than 1000 detentions by the police on people involved.
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0 # Lynn Yoxall 2019-06-02 13:46
Iv seen this so many times when iv been to Benidorm. What a scam.. there's the guy in action his friends on the look out which you can clearly spot out watching out for the police..absolutely load of rubbish.
Iv said when iv passed don't go there you'll never win . They keep getting away with it tho ..
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0 # David Haw 2019-06-03 10:34
Saw this today 2 lots of them on beachfront posted video earlier must of be too long
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0 # Tracy Ann 2019-08-22 13:47
Town hall of Benidorm demand a change in national laws to reclassify the activity of the "Trileros" (peamen) as a criminal offence rather than as a simple misdemeanor as it is classified at the moment.
It requires a change in the National penal code.
They are supported in this demand by the police.
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0 # Connor Dolan 2019-08-29 00:04
They are out in force tonight on the beach front, can literally see them trying peoples pockets
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0 # Tracy Ann 2019-08-29 00:48
thank you for the update, call 091 x
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0 # Gillian Butler 2019-08-31 00:04
Long overdue, they've been a blot on the landscape of beautiful Benidorm for the 25yrs I've been coming. And now for the pickpockets and gypsies who prey on the unsuspecting.
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0 # Caz 2019-10-08 13:37
Carole Newbery

New trick of the "Pea-men"family....
If there are two of you looking and one of you engage with any other person (who are ALL the same family) but you think they are joe public.......THEY ARE A FAMILY OF THEIVES ....the tallest , man in that group (has a very pointed nose with dirty teeth) intimidates the other one of you , by walking towards you so you are walking backwards, far enough from your friend, that all his family surround your friend/partner/wife /husband etc....that's the time to watch out for pick pockets/wallet/purse snatches..... That man asks questions , like , you having good holiday, you been beach, you wanna go beach today? You look brown you been here long bla bla bla Etc etc.... all the time walking you backwards and side stepping so you can,t get forward , WHERE are the police when this happens??? He was seen next day doing it to two ladies in there 70-80,s....
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0 # Stevie pye 2019-11-19 23:20
Why don't the hotels or travel agents advise people when booking in about these scum,it would make a lot of old people aware
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0 # Tracy Ann 2019-11-20 10:20
warnings are give out quite often on the Transfer coaches, this is no new thing they have been around for many years, and not just in Benidorm.
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