Missing Couple's Credit Cards Used; Fresh Twist Throws Another Sinister Aspect into Riddle

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Byline: Frank Corless

CREDIT cards belonging to a couple who have vanished in Spain were being used almost a week after they were last seen, their worried family and police revealed last night.

The fresh twist threw another sinister aspect into the riddle surrounding Anthony and Linda O'Malley who disappeared during a two-week break to try to find their dream home in the sun.

They have not been seen since September 12 or 13 but their cards have used - sometimes for large amounts for cash - up until September 19 - and it this which is causing concern.

The man leading the inquiry, Detective Superintendent Alan Jones, North Wales police senior investigation officer for major incidents, said: ``The family have had a look at the transactions and it is the volume and amounts which cause us concern, they are not in line with their usual habits.''

He confirmed that some of the transactions have been for petrol, although the hire car which the O'Malleys picked up at Malaga airport has never been found.

Mr O'Malley's brother Bernard, who has flown to Spain, told a press conference in Benidorm: ``My brother and his wife were a devoted couple. It is a complete mystery and we are very, very concerned for their safety.

``Making it even more worrying is the fact that their credit cards and debit cards have been used in a very out of character way. I cannot disclose figures, but large amounts are involved. Items were purchased at department stores in the Benidorm area and money was taken from cash points.''

Mr O'Malley said the cards had started to be used in such a fashion about halfway through the couple's planned stay and continued after they had last been seen.

He added ``The use of the cards were such that their bank back home cancelled cards itself.''

The couple's married daughter, Nicola Welch, who also flew to Spain with her husband Steve, told the press conference that the North Wales police were treating the use of the cards as fraud.

Self-employed car dealer Mr O'Malley,42, originally from Widnes, and his 55-year-old wife have now been missing for two weeks.

Mrs O'Malley was last seen at the five star Melia Hotel by Joanne Miles, who works for a property company that uses the hotel as a base.

She saw her on September 12 and September 13 when she expressed interest in a property at nearby Villajoyosa.

Mrs O'Malley's interest in the five bedroom house, which had been repossessed and was due to be auctioned, was such that she said on September 13 that her husband would stay on to meet an agent on September 17. …