Revealed: The techniques used by thieves to steal your passport while you're on holiday

British tourists are being warned about the techniques used by hustlers to steal passports.

More than 21,000 British passports were stolen or lost abroad in 2015.

The Foreign Office has joined forces with "fraud and stealth crime expert" James Freedman to launch the #PassportAware campaign which advises holidaymakers on how to avoid being a victim.

"Every lost passport costs money to replace and with identity fraud on the rise, the real cost of losing yours could be thousands," Mr Freedman warns.

He has revealed four techniques commonly used by thieves.

  • The imposter

A thief poses as a police officer or offical and asks questions before requesting a form of identification.

The holidaymaker then hands over his/her passport - allowing the criminal to walk off with it.

  • The clean-up

The hustler makes a mess on a passer-by's jacket before conveniently offering to clean it up.

While being a "good samaritan", the thief swipes the passport from his jacket.

  • The check-in cheat

While the tourist is distracted checking in at her hotel, the thief swoops in and picks up her passport.

  • Taking things easy

A tourist is busy enjoying a meal and chatting - oblivious to the fact a thief has sat down behind and is preparing to snatch the passport.

He pretends to reach into his own jacket but instead dives into the unsuspecting holidaymaker.

Mr Freedman and the FCO also advise Brits to:

  • only carry what you really need

  • keep cash and other valuables in a secure pocket or bag

  • if you put bags down, they should always be in your line of sight

  • leave your passport safely in the hotel if you don't need it while you're out

  • trust your instincts and be aware of anyone invading your personal space

  • make two photocopies of your passport - leave one with friends or family and take the second with you