Backpackers held in Brazil

Two British law graduates have been arrested whilst on a backpacking holiday in Brazil after allegedly making a fraudulent claim that they had been robbed. Shanti Simone Andrews and Rebecca Claire Turner both 23, told police on Sunday that items worth £1,000 had been taken on a bus journey from the tourist resort of Foz do Iguacu to Rio de Janeiro.

Officers suspicious they had waited several days to report the crime marched them back to their backpackers hostel in Rio where the missing items were allegedly found in suitcases in lockers under their beds.

Last night the pair, who graduated from the University of Sussex on 2007, were facing their third night in a women’s jail on the out skirts of Rio and up to five years in prison if convicted of fraud. A source close to the women said ‘a conviction could ruin their chances of becoming lawyers. They are terrified, to put things mildly.

The women were due to return from their backpacker holiday to Britain on Monday-but had to cancel their flight following their arrest on Sunday. The Foreign office is providing consular assistance.

Sergio Ricardo da Rocha Pita, a lawyer is acting for the pair, told a Brazilian newspaper they had been robbed but were mistaken over some of the items claimed to have been stolen.

Miss Andrews and Miss Turner are currently sharing a cell in police custody pending being officially charged.

More information can be found at the Daily Mail website, by clicking here.

We at hope that this is indeed a misunderstanding and not an attempt at making a fraudulant claim against their travel insurer when they returned to the UK. offer a range of backpackers travel insurance and gap year travel insurance from as little as 17pence a day. For a quote or to buy travel insurance, please click here.

Source: Daily Mail July 29th 2009

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