• One escaped by light aircraft to France, the other took a ferry. If it wasn’t for their holdalls full of ill gotten cash you’d think it was a Top Gear cross Europe special. But this was crime. Big crime.

Scum on the Run, with Alan Partridge, in Spain.  

A-HA! Or, as I like to say to my new Spanish fans, A-JA!

People are always saying to me, ‘Alan, where have you been?’, but sometimes now they are saying ‘Alan, ¿dónde has estado?’, which is a clue to where I have been, and the answer I give them when they ask that question is, I’ve been in Spain.

I should point out that if you want to ask me that question in Spanish I will only give you an answer, in English, if there is someone close by who can tell me what you are saying. But go ahead, if you must ask me in Spanish, do so. It’s a free country. Hasn’t been for long granted, but it is now, and that’s all that matters. To most people. Actually I say most, there are lots of people here who won’t let it go, and if I can help in any way to restore peace and harmony to what is essentially a broken land, I am available, subject to outstanding contractual commitments—I mean I can’t let the guys down at  Costa Blanca (in English, white coast) financial services. They rely on my face to gain the trust of ex-pats to say ‘yes, despite the salesman having the baring of, and probably being, an ex cockney villain, I will entrust my funeral planning with your company. I’ll do it because my confidence in Alan Partridge outweighs my lack of confidence in you. To put it simply, I am quite literally, commercial gold—great name for a radio station.

But providing reconciliation talks can be arranged outside of our monthly breakfast buffet seminars at the Benidorm Playa del Sol (In English please—it’s beach of sun), I’m your man.

Scum on the Run, with Alan Partridge, in Spain.  
Scum on the Run, with Alan Partridge, in Spain.  

Talking of ex cockney villains, that’s what I am here to talk about. Scum. Specifically scum on the run. In the sun!

Don’t get me wrong, I like Benidorm a lot. Its tower block skyline gives me the reassurance of a city in a developed country like good old Britannia, but without the same level of ethnic diversity that usually comes hand in hand with UK city centres. Looking out from my balcón (balcony) across the city and for a moment I can forget about the lack of sanitation and frankly shocking electrical and plumbing standards. You might be in Europe Spain, but we don’t need to look at a map to see you are closest to Africa. Gibraltar excluded of course, where I understand the quality of utilities is broadly speaking on a par with the U.K.

Benidorm has many charms – for example, interesting fact that it has at least twice the number of bars selling John Smith’s Bitter on draught than anywhere in England. Just England mind, not Scotland. I don’t have the figures, but they obviously drink more in Scotland than, well, anywhere really.

But I digress, despite Benidorm’s many charms it does have one drawback. The Costa Blanca (refer back) does attract a lot of very unsavoury characters. It is the number one choice for Brits on the run from the ‘filth’ following their last disastrous ‘caper’. I mean look at the two featured in this week’s capture, you can see why they would think to come and hide here, they would blend right in.  I could walk down to the lobby bar right now and find any number of equally retarded looking Brits from the same very limited gene pool. In fact, sorry but I have to tell you this, I made a hilarious joke about that just the other day. A pair of jeans had blown off a balcony (balcón) into the swimming pool and seeing the opportunity for a piece of classic Alan, I went into the bar and said to all and sundry, “there are as many jeans in the hotel pool as there are genes in the hotel bar”. They didn’t get it, I could see the self-loathing on their faces, hating themselves for being unable to grasp comedy that really needed a grammar school audience.

Anyway, back to the Scum, when The Ibizan newspaper contacted me to ask if I would write a column on the hot topic of UK criminals in Spain, I was delighted! I’d love to do my bit, I said, subject to my usual fee. Look, if I’m honest, it was a pretty tough negotiation. There are a lot of people out there who think I’m washed up. But I’m not. We were in a conference call and I said, I might be an ex-pat, but I’m not an ex-par. And once I’d explained it by adding ‘tridge’, adding a pause after ‘par’, I had them by the Spanish maracas. I knew it, they knew it, I am still, very much, Alan Partridge.

Scum On The Run 1

The VAT Rats

One escaped by light aircraft to France, the other took a ferry. If it wasn’t for their holdalls full of ill gotten cash you’d think it was a Top Gear cross Europe special. But no. This was not an episode of the best use of licence payer’s money since Andrea Rippon did that dance with Eric and Ernie, This was crime. Big crime.

Scum on the Run, with Alan Partridge, in Spain.  

Father and son Jamie and Brian Cowell, I don’t know which one’s which, take your pick, and by the looks of it they might be brothers too, Father and son, and brothers, Jamie and Brian Cowell fled the UK with over 1 million pounds in Royal British sterling following a VAT scam where they abused the VAT man, and whatever people say he’s got a job to do like anyone else.

Actually, writing this is quite boring. I mean I think I’ve given pretty good value already. Lynn, can you take over please. Lynn—add the next bit, all that about what they did, and he said and they said. Let me know when you’ve done. I’m going to get a Café con Leche, it’s just milky coffee. I’ll just add notes later.

Tax Fugitives Behind Bars

Father and son tax fugitives are finally behind bars after being captured in Spain and extradited to the UK. The £1 million VAT fraudster tried to avoid jail by fleeing to France in a light aircraft, while his accomplice father escaped by ferry before they both headed to Spain.

Former Sandbanks resident Jamie Colwell, 51, will today begin his prison sentence of five years and three months for stealing almost £1 million in VAT repayments on new-build houses that never existed. His father, Brian Colwell, 76, of Bournemouth, will start his two year and eight month jail term.

The pair were tracked down by HM Revenue and Customs investigators and their overseas partners (ooh, kinky) to a villa near Benidorm (told you), where they were arrested by Guardia Civil officers (the Police) on the evening of 9 May 2018.

They were returned to the UK on 23rd May and immediately taken into custody overnight before appearing at Bournemouth Crown Court by video link (whatever next, they’re not child sex victims for heaven’s sake) on 24 May. The men are now starting their jail terms for their part in the VAT repayment fraud.

Richard Wilkinson, Assistant Director, Fraud Investigation Service, HMRC, said:

“The Colwells thought they could evade prison and use their criminal cash to fund a new life on the Costa Blanca but they were wrong. With close cooperation from our international law enforcement partners we tracked the fugitives down, so they can now look forward to jail instead.

“HMRC is determined to ensure absconders face justice. We will pursue those criminals who blatantly steal from the public services we all rely on, and look to recover the proceeds of their crimes from current and future wealth.

“We encourage anyone with information about tax fugitives or suspected tax fraud to report it online, or to contact our Fraud Hotline on 0800 788 887.”


Thanks Lynn. I’ll see you next time readers, providing my cheque clears, which by the look of this lot is by no means certain.

I’m Alan Partridge, A-JA (A-HA)


  • In a randomly unconnected footnote, The Ibizan newspaper sincerely hopes that Steve Coogan would be the kind of person to think ‘fan tribute by people of no commercial significance’ before ‘blatant copyright infringement’, however should this not be the case we fall back to our professional indemnity position of having nothing whatsoever worth taking.