Police in Portugal made a mass of arrests at an illegal gambling operation in Portugal last week, fining 28 elderly Irish and British expats who were playing bingo for biscuits and alcohol prizes.

The BBC reported that Portuguese police had been staking out the the Yorkshire Tavern, in Albufeira, before swooping in and making the arrests.

The bar’s landlady, Marianne Pittaway (34), was fined $917 and given a four-month suspended sentence in court for hosting the bingo night where boxes of biscuits and bottles of booze were given to the elderly players as prizes.

Some of the players, who had paid $1.50 to play, were also fined up to $463 for playing and some were fined $231 for just watching.

Ireland’s Department of Foreign Affairs have made contact with the expats in question.

The Department of Foreign Affairs says it's been in contact with a group of pensioners in Portugal, who have appeared in court for playing illegal bingo.

According to BreakingNews.ie they were charged with exploitation, illegal gambling and witnessing illegal gambling.

Some were given three-month suspended sentences and fined €300 for participating - others were fined €150 just for watching the game.

One Irish holiday home owner told the Portugal News, “What kind of image does this give Portugal?"

“I wasn’t even playing bingo and I was arrested. I was just about to finish my drink and go home. It was excessive. It will make people scared to go in bars now.”

Here’s the BBC report:

Some of the British players who were fined for playing bingo at their local pubSun