A UK couple have found themselves stranded in Spain after cops claimed their UK driving license was invalid and blocked their camper van on the side of the road.
Dave Kenny and his wife Debra, 60, were left in shock after local police told them they could end up in jail if they tried to make it to the border.
The couple, from Swansea, South Wales, have a ferry to catch up in the UK next week – but have been warned they will be breaking the law if they attempt to drive their van.
Despite warnings, they plan to rush to the border with their three dogs under cover of darkness.
The couple arrived in Spain on March 16 after deciding to go on a six-week road trip to Europe after their home was burglarized.
Last week they were involved in a minor accident while Dave was trying to park the vehicle.
He told The Sun Online: “There was no problem, I exchanged details with the person involved, but as we are British they did not know how the insurance worked so they called the police local.
“When the police arrived I presented my documents and they said everything was fine with my insurance – no problems with the accident.
“But when I went to go they stopped me and said ‘you’re not going anywhere.
“They told me my license was not valid – I asked them what they meant as I had my license replaced two years ago.
“It’s a full UK license, it still has the EU symbol in the corner.
“They said ‘no since Brexit it’s not valid’.”
The couple were then escorted to the local police station by the police car where their campervan was blocked and they were slapped with a €500 fine.
Eventually, their vehicle was brought back to their villa for them.
And when they asked the British Embassy and Consulate for help, they both confirmed that Dave’s driving license was valid in Spain.
They were told that there was a change in the law in Spain just a week ago which means residents must now change their license to a Spanish driving licence.
But that doesn’t affect tourists visiting Spain from the UK – Britons can drive in the country for up to 90 days if they’re not resident.
“We’ve been told there’s been some confusion on the Spanish side and they just think Brits driving here can’t drive with a UK driving license,” Dave said.
But the couple are now stuck in the holiday home, unable to return to the UK or even drive to the local village a few miles away for groceries.
Anxious to avoid the local cops, they hop on a pair of e-bikes to refuel.
“We struggle day to day with how much food and water we can take home,” Dave said.
DASH FOR THE BORDER
Dave, who works as a security guard, said they now plan to drive to the border.
He said: “We have a ferry to catch next week and at the moment it is illegal for me to drive according to the police – who actually told me that if I drove my vehicle I could be arrested, arrested and even thrown in jail.
“I have been threatened if I drive my vehicle there will be serious consequences.
“But I’m going to take the risk of driving. We’re going to have to rush to the border – despite all the help we’ve had from Hugh Elliot and Kirsten Garry from the British Consulate.”
Dave said he and his wife felt “victimized” by the Spanish cops – and want to warn other British tourists about the situation.
He said: “We had no choice. We watched the trains or had someone fly here, but we have the dogs so we have no options.
“We are literally stuck. We have been punished by the Spanish police because they misinterpreted the law.
“It’s not like we’re going to blend in with the crowd in a campervan with a UK number plate.
“You can imagine the stress and worry involved. I just thought, ‘How’s it going?’
“I thought maybe the government website hadn’t been updated or something. But we were told we were right about the license and they were making a mistake. feel stressed, victimized.”
Dave added: “I have been banned from driving in Spain for no apparent reason.
“I think Britons need to be aware that it can happen to others too, in theory even in a hire car.”