We stayed at Villa Cometa 20G in the Urbanisation Cometa in Calpe, Spain from the 9th May to the 17th May 2017 having booked it with Solmar Villas.
The entry gates to the villa were left unlocked and the handle to open one of the gates fell off when I used it onto the floor.
It is a very very steep driveway (which Solmar fail to mention on the website !) but we managed to get up it after a few go`s in the Nissan Micra Hire Car with a lot of revs in first gear,
went to the entry door on the second storey (pool level)
and after a few go`s got the door open
(it`s a lock you put the key in and rotate once to unlock the deadlock/ multi point locking system and then once again to open the door latch but it needed a bit of an effort as it stuck so it was either worn or needed lubrication to it )
I noticed at this point that there was evidence of someone previously trying to break in before we arrived and have a picture of this.
We went inside and there was a bit of light inside
we put the lights on to see where we were going,
WOW absolutely fabulous, massive, nicely decorated, not at all disappointed,
we opened the window shutters on a few of the windows to let light in and went onto the pool terrace, could not have asked for better, great views, massive pool, this is the business !
Had a look around the property,
as we were 2 people we didn`t need 9 bedrooms
so had a good look around and the first storey
(felt like underground to me) was not used at all,
we had a look around and noticed that it had a BOLT on the inside of the outside entry door which was unbolted, this door opens on the side of the driveway, which I thought was very isolated so we put the BOLT up so nobody could enter the Villa from this door,
the window blinds on this floor were also dropped right down by US as they had been left about 6” open (when they are fully lowered you are in complete darkness and need the lights on )
Second Storey a few blinds had been left 6” open, having looked around I decided that we would lock the entry door and use the BOLT when we were in the pool and leave the patio door on the pool terrace ajar a little as we had perfect view of this entrance to the Villa when we were in the pool area.
Third Storey a few blinds had been left open 6” so the rooms not being used we fully lowered the shutters on all but one for the whole of the holiday, the stairs to the roof where the A/C units are has a door that had been LEFT OPEN but we LOCKED that on the 9th May and it stayed LOCKED during the whole holiday.
Door/Window Central Locks
The doors and windows when there were a pair of them together had a “Patio Door Lock” so that you depressed a locking bolt which could only be released by a KEY,
throughout the property not all of these were depressed when we arrived so we went around locking them, it`s a bit of a pain securing a property but we have never experienced any losses in over 20 years of holidays so I have a regime to make things safe !
Lots of notices about making sure you left the property secure with windows locked and shutters dropped fully before going out and to use the safe !
NOTED, the safe was key operated and OVERNIGHT I put my Bumbag containing Passports, Money, Driving Licences, E111, Car Hire Key, Credit and Debit Cards every time, during the day I kept my Bumbag with me if we left the villa, there was no room for anything else in the small safe so we had a few Gadgets like iPhone 6s Plus, Iphone 4s, IpadProPlus, Droidbox T95Z Plus, Bluetooth MPOW media speaker and an iPod 4 to supply it with music source.
I left these items in the Villa as they would not physically fit in the safe as it was too small and made sure every single time we left the Villa to go shopping or sight seeing that all patio doors/windows were locked and if a patio door or window central lock was fitted it was depressed and all shutters were dropped fully, the bathrooms only had a manual (non lockable window handle) but the shutters were dropped as well.
In over 20 years of holidaying I haver never suffered a loss due to burglary as we are very safety conscious.
Really enjoyed the first 6 days, we had an English (ExPat) neighbour called Jeff in 21G on the RHS of the property who we got to know, on the LHS its an Archery Training Camp unused. Weather was OK, we would give the experience 9/10 easily.
The Bad Bit
Sometime on 16/05/2017 between approx. 13:00 and 13:45
We were burgled with no visible Forced Entry when we went shopping for our last time
iPadPro Plus in a Blue Case
Watch with White Strap/Silver Dial
Gold Chain with Cross with departed mother`s engagement ring on chain.
4 Pairs of Gold Earrings
Total of about £1,100
NOT TAKEN but left in LOCKED VILLA
Iphone 6S Plus, Iphone 4s, Droidbox T95Z Plus, Bluetooth MPOW media speaker and an iPod 4 to supply it with music source.
No Money stolen as when we left Villa it was in my bum bag.
Summary of our return from 13:45 on the 16th May 2017
Entered the Villa, no bad vibes the door lock opened as before in that it was sticking a bit after one rotation of the key and then try again and it passed the resistance felt so it was double locked still, went into the villa it was as we left it in total darkness as all the blinds were still down, put lights on and opened shutters nothing different.
Over the next hour or so discovered a few things missing but nothing out of place except I had pre packed a Bluetooth Speaker and iPod in a carrier bag to go home with and the carrier bag was missing and the Bluetooth Speaker and iPod left on the Sofa,
then my wife noticed a watch missing and asked me where the iPad Pro was, I said it was on charge in the kitchen but it was gone !
Later she checked her room an and as there was no room in the safe she kept her jewellery in a draw in her room, a gold 9ct chain with cross and her deceased mother`s engagement ring on the chain and 4 pairs of gold earrings.
Eventually it dawned on me that we had been burgled, we had a good look around and there were no signs of a forced entry !
Our English neighbour Jeff in 21G (RHS of the Villa) was outside so we asked him whether he had seen or heard anything in the last hour or so, he said he had been painting on his roof terrace area and heard nothing at all, we told him what had been taken and
straightaway he told us that it sounded exactly what had happened to a Dutch Family last Summer (2016) who had lost 600 or 700 Euro, a pair of designer trainers but the burglars had left behind a Go Pro camera, the property had no signs of a break in.
Apparently the Guardia were called and Solmar Rep was there for this burglary incident.
He asked me if the locks on the door were new and I had a look and they are not new but aged and I said the mechanism was not smooth to lock the Villa, he told me to ring Solmar Rep and get the Guardia around as it was very suspicious !
after this burglary summer to the dutch family in 2016 were the locks changed in the villa cometa to prevent later guests being burgled as there was a defenite burglary with a dutch couple which was reported to solmar villas and emily from solmar villas has confirmed this was reported to them in the uk ?
Solmar Villas did NOT answer this question !
My initial look suggest the locks were not changed so my opinion is that the BURGLARY in 2016 was ignored which has left later customers vulnerable !
I reported this to the police, attended the Guardia Police Station with Solmar Rep who acted as an interpreter.
I rang Solmar on 19/05/2017 and spoke to Emily (Customer Service Rep) and asked about Burglaries at Villa Cometa any now it turns out that my friend Jeff at 21G was correct, she couldn`t confirm all the details but it did occur sometime in the summer of 2016.
In the UK there is a duty of care to prevent people and property being put at risk, I ensured 100% that the villa was 100% locked and secure !
The fact that a similar burglary occurred here before in the summer of 2016 should have prompted Solmar to ask the villa owner to get the locks changed as someone had a KEY TO GET INTO THE VILLA so in my opinion
“Solmar failed the minimum standard that would be expected to ensure the safety of paying customers and their property, we could have been attacked in our sleep instead of just being burgled when we went out on a shopping trip”
Someone entered the Villa with “Non Forcible Entry”
Response from Solmar Villas
I got a PDF file from a trainee solicitor for the company TravLaw following my complaint submission, in a nutshell they deny all liability and to add insult to injury describe our situation as “an alleged burglary”
Emily from Solmar confirmed the burglary report by the Dutch Family
4. Previous (alleged) burglary at the Villa
Solmar cannot provide you with any details regarding that alleged burglary because they do not share information with anyone !
My Next Steps I`m going to go to ABTA with my complaint next !