A Glasgow gran has been left in ‘terrible condition’ after being held at a Spanish airport for more than 32 hours.
Sharon Dempsey flew to Alicante with her brother on Saturday morning but lost her passport between taking off from Glasgow and landing in Spain.
The 66-year-old Drumchapel grandmother was barred from entering the country by Spanish police and spent the night in a detention center while her family frantically tried to find her a flight home .
Sharon’s daughter, Adele Dempsey, was forced to contact the British Embassy and Consulate to resolve the issue, but faced major problems due to language barriers and weekend closures.
She told Glasgow Live: “My mum was held in a cell-like airport detention center and was given nothing decent to eat or drink. She had two cold rolls and water and that’s it.
“I know the rules are the rules, but she was being treated like a criminal – not just someone who accidentally lost her passport.
“She knows for sure she had it when she got on the plane because she had it open in case it needed to be checked. It wasn’t checked on the plane, so she put it back in her bag which was then kept under the seat in front of her.
Get all the latest Glasgow news and headlines straight to your inbox twice a day by signing up to our free newsletter.
From breaking news to breaking news on the coronavirus crisis in Scotland, we’ve got you covered.
The morning newsletter arrives before 9 a.m. daily and the evening newsletter, hand-curated by the team, is sent between 4 and 5 p.m., giving you an overview of the most important stories we covered that day.
To register, simply enter your email address in this link here.
“It wasn’t until she took the shuttle to the airport that she realized it wasn’t there. She tried to pick up the shuttle to try and get it back, but the staff didn’t Wasn’t helpful and said housekeepers could often throw away passports if left on the flight.
“She started to panic and was explaining what had happened to them in Spanish but the passport was nowhere to be found.
“My uncle waited on the other side of passport control and we finally told him to go to the hotel and wait. My mum was kept there overnight.
“She was obviously very stressed but they didn’t even allow her to go outside to smoke a cigarette or give her hot meals.”
Adele spoke to the consulate who advised her to book a flight back to Glasgow for Sharon after receiving the emergency documents provided by them.
However, Sharon was prevented from boarding EasyJet’s return flight as airport police said she did not have the correct document and transferred her to the detention center where she spent the night.
Officers have told the mum from Glasgow that due to changes in travel rules since Brexit they can no longer allow entry into Spain without a physical passport to be stamped.
Adele added: “There was a chance she would have to wait there until Wednesday as emergency travel documents take two days to process and the embassy in Alicante is closed for the weekend.
“Luckily, after almost a whole day without being able to reach her, she was finally able to board a flight to London. She was taken under police escort on the plane arm in arm, and leaves the same way.
“She was in terrible condition. She said she hadn’t even washed her face and felt so dirty and was left in tears outside Gatwick with another long waiting to return to Glasgow.”
The Home Office confirmed that the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office assisted a woman who lost her passport on her outbound flight to Spain and, in conjunction with Border Force, worked with the Spanish authorities to facilitate his return to the UK.