LOCAL POLICE in Benalmadena have published a report into cracking down on illegal street vendors.
A representative explained they have worked out the vendors’ routines and will soon begin detaining them, adding,”it is a priority to avoid arrests which use force or would generate fear,” or would be“disproportionate that would upset the public.”
The report shows vendors in areas including El Saltillo, where the practice is most prevalent,start their day at around 11am, moving around throughout the day to avoid police. At around 4pm another set of vendors, who are normally immigrants from Africa, take over.
Police say the practice is at its busiest between 8pm and 9pm, when vendors take over the promenade, disappearing when they are tipped off to police presence. Officers explained the sellers also prefer to stick together as this makes it harder for police to catch them, as they generally only patrol in groups of two and are outnumbered.
Earlier this month, Benalmadena’s Council has launched a campaign in collaboration with the Department of Commerce to prevent illegal street vending.
The town’s Mayor, Victor Navas, has revealed a series of leaflets in several languages have been distributed in the most heavily visited tourist areas raising awareness of the problem. He explained, “we are aware that illegal street vending is a social problem and we think it is vital to involve residents and tourists in finding a solution, because illegal vending does not benefit the seller or the buyer.”
Mayor Navas said the council is considering a series of proposals to counteract the practice, including setting up legal markets.
Illegal vending continues to be a problem across the Costa del Sol with the illegal sale of tobacco still a problem at this year’s Malaga feria, despite efforts to reduce the practice.
The council this year installed an authorised tobacconist to crack down on the problem. The retailer, located in the Real de la Feria, has attracted large crowds of smokers, although some illegal street vendors continue to trade, according to media reports.
Head of Security at Malaga Council, Mario Cortes, said although not many police officers are brought in to deal with the problem, more measures have been put in place to stop the sale of illegal tobacco this year, leading to 200 packets of cigarettes being confiscated.