AUTHORITIES claim they are almost powerless to prevent the growing problem of so-called pirate vendors at street markets.
The pirates are legitimately there as they have sub-let the spot from the licensed vendor but the process involves social security fraud.
Councils are also losing out on revenue as the pirates pay as much as five times more than the €200 licence.
According to authorities the vendor registers the pirate with Social Security as an employee for just a few hours, thus legitimising the use of the stall when police inspect it. But they make no social security contributions.
Checking up on this involves a huge amount of manpower and time, and when police visit the stalls the paperwork appears to be in order.
Meanwhile, the Almeria City Council is studying the future of the Friday street market at the bull ring as forthcoming road works will seriously affect access.