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Costa del Sol businesses call for clampdown on illegal street vendors

BUSINESSES in Benalmadena are demanding “greater vigilance” from the authorities against illegal street sellers, as the summer approaches.

Local representatives are to meet with the councillors for security in both Torremolinos and Benalmadena, as well as the heads of local and national police.

The meeting has been convened by the Association of Merchants and Entrepreneurs of Benalmadena (ACEB), and all sides recognise the need for action after a police officer was attacked recently.

In fact the police in Benalmadena have issued a violence escalation warning, and for greater caution around street vendors.

President of the ACEB, Rose Maria Gonzalez, emphasised that areas attempting to attract tourists “cannot afford to have this image” and urged the council to “stop making excuses and tackle the problem.”

She has also made contact with representatives of the Senegalese community, many of whom are keen to reach an agreement where sellers can operate legally.

Illegal street selling can attract criminal networks that exploit immigrants who do not have proper documentation, forcing them to work long hours and threatening them with arrest.

Councillor for the PP, Juan Antonio Lara, criticised the PSOE for allowing “unfair competition that puts local businesses at risk” and for “being unable to solve a problem that is now out of hand.”

The Citizens party has also waded into the debate, claiming that the vendors “occupy public space in a disorderly, arbitrary and uncontrolled manner, taking over much of the promenades and the rest areas for their wares.”

ACEB President Rose Maria Gonzalez, added:

“For months we have been asking the council to make provisions in its budget to pay police officers overtime, as apparently it cannot increase its workforce.”

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