Bingo for biscuits players arrested in Portugal after police raided pub and found Brits playing 'games of luck and chance'

Albufeira landlady has been fined 700 euros for 'illegal gambling'

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The Independent Online

A group of British and Irish expats have been fined by Portuguese police who discovered them playing bingo for biscuits during a raid on Friday evening.

Twenty-eight holiday makers were caught by police playing the popular game for prizes of drinks and biscuits in the Yorkshire Tavern in Albufeira.

Police carried out the raid after being alerted by an “anonymous citizen”.

Landlady Marianne Pittaway has been fined 700 euros and received a four month suspended prison sentence for "illegal gambling". 

Ms Pittaway, who hails from Yorkshire, described herself as “shocked” at the events, saying that she would “definitely not” be staging another bingo night in an interview with the BBC.

Speaking ahead of her court experience, she explained: “I put on the bingo for some entertainment and a bit of fun. We were only playing for some biscuits and drinks.

”One minute we were all playing, having a bit of fun and then we were just bundled off in three police vans and taken to the police station."

The 28 were called to appear in court in Albufeira to face charges of "exploitation of illegal gambling, illegal gambling and witnessing illegal gambling“, according to the Portuguese police.

Even some customers in the pub who were not involved in the game faced fines of 150 euros and three month suspended sentences for “witnessing illegal gambling”.

Wigan resident Lee Williams has tried to see the lighter side of the event however, despite being arrested in the raid. Mr Williams said: "When we tried to leave three of the guys, who were armed police, actually made a barricade in front of us and told us were not allowed to leave and that we had to go to the police station to be read our rights and that we were being arrested as part of an illegal gambling group.

“I've had a lot of ribbing from my mates - I'm sick of hearing people saying 'eyes down' or 'house' - you've just got to smile about it, really.”

Mr Williams was not required to appear in court and has returned to the UK with his wife.

Portuguese police said in a statement that they had raided the bar following information from an “anonymous citizen,” and that officers discovered people playing “games of luck and chance” in an unauthorised area.

In Portugal, organisers of gambling games such as bingo must apply for a license from the government.