Dozens of fraudsters have been busted by Spain’s National Police in an alleged Spanish Residence scam for British nationals.

National Police arrested 47 people for fraudulently registering British nationals as residents of Spain, following the UK’s exit from the European Union.

The arrests were made after a tip-off, with a trio of the main suspects in charge of a law firm in Marbella, with two others operating from a law firm in Ceuta in mainland Spain.

Police investigators dismantled two criminal networks which appear to have been operating independently of each other.

The alleged fraud involves manipulated documentation in applications for residency permits, via the foreign immigration office in Malaga in the Costa Del Sol.

The five main culprits are accused of crimes of belonging to a criminal organisation, encouraging illegal immigration, and forging documents.

On average €1,600 was charged for each registration.

The remaining 42 were arrested for applying for residency in Spain with fraudulent documents.

The arrests were made in Marbella after investigations established that 120 applications for residency permits were fraudulent.

These were denied or cancelled after they were granted. At least three of those applying for residency were supposed criminals looking to hide in the south of Spain.

The National Police received a tip-off in April 2021 from staff at the foreign immigration office in Malaga, who alerted police that certain documentation they were receiving to prove residency looked as though it had been tampered with.

Based on these suspicions, officers analysed more than 200 application files of British nationals and found false documents in more than half.

Most of them had forged documents, including rental contracts, medical insurance policies, bank statements, and invoices.

Others, in some way, justified the applicants residency in Spain, prior to the Brexit deadline date.

Following searches of the homes of the leaders of the organisations, police discovered a large amount of documentation relating to the accusations.