AN Amblecote family is afraid a New Year holiday nightmare has not ended even though they are back at home.

Michael Copestick, his wife and two children aged three and eight, returned from Gran Canaria this week after being left penniless by bagsnatching robbers.

Mr Copestick, aged 40, has been warned by Spanish police the robbers may have been part of a north African mafia gang who target British tourists and then send items and information back to the UK for acomplaces to raid their homes.

The holiday from Hell began when the family arrived in Maspalomas on December 29 for a £2,500 break. Caravan engineer Mr Copestick was already unwell with what he believes was food poisoning.

He said: "On December 31 we went to a local Spa shop, somebody must have been standing behind us watching for our PIN number.

"They must have followed us - just after, our bag was taken from under a table in a cafe-bar and within hours our credit card had been emptied.

"They took a phone, an iPod, our camcorder and digital camera with all our baby photos on, a driving licence, our car and house keys and £1,000 in cash."

Left without cash or bank cards the family relied on the generosity of fellow holiday makers for loans to buy food.

Mr Copestick said: "Everybody could see my wife and children in the state they were in, it was so humiliating.

"It is the fear of being out there with no help, money or food for the children, and now we can't leave out home unattended in case they try to break-in. It's like something you see in the movies, people need to be warned."

He reported the theft to police in Maspalomas and holiday company Thompson but says the company rep did not do enough to help.

Mr Copestick said: "She said this had never happened out there but then we found out it happens all the time, the police told us all the holiday companies had been notified."

The deep economic crisis in Spain is being blamed for a rise in crime - as far back as February 2011 the Canary Island News reported a sharp increase in robberies at tourist complexes, including in Maspalomas and nearby Playa del Ingles.

The family, with help from fellow tourists who gave them access to a bank account, eventually transferred cash to allow them to see out their stay but even then the disasters continued.

Their return flight was delayed by 19 hours and now they say their holiday insurance will not cover their losses, which they estimate at around £7,000. Self-employed Mr Copestick says the financial burden will probably put him out of business.

A spokesperson for Thomspon said: "Thomson is sorry to hear that Mr Copestick was unhappy with the support he feels he received in resort following this incident in Gran Canaria.

"Our overseas team did everything possible to assist the Copestick family following the theft of their bag. They were advised to contact the 24 hour holiday line, which they did, and when given the option of organising an emergency transfer of funds to their bank account, the customer opted to organise this independently.

"The safety and wellbeing of our customers is of paramount importance. We strongly advise customers to organise travel insurance before going on holiday to ensure they are covered should a situation such as this arise."