Colourful characters or cunning crooks?

© shutterstock / Rangzen

NOT so long ago, we ran articles about a woman who was fined nearly €1,000 for posting on social media a photo of a police car parked in a disabled space (the fine was reversed), and another about a woman who was fined for driving her invalid carriage on a pavement, but it is not very often that we write about the arrest of ‘Looky Looky’ men for the sale of illegal copies of designer goods.

Some people might think that the designer and film companies make enough money as it is and shouldn’t be worried about a few poor migrants (in the country legally or otherwise) earning a living by selling these goods, but if studied in the cold light of day, these people are effectively professional criminals practising deception on the streets almost with impunity.

€100m is the estimated street value of counterfeit goods seized in Spain during 2015, which suggests that the value of such goods left in circulation is enormous

Restaurant fight 
No looky looky

ONE restaurant in Guadalmina has a sign outside which basically says they will call the police about anyone who tries to sell illegal goods to their clients, although in fairness they also have a sign that says they are Spanish, conservative, catholic and if you don’t like that don’t bother coming in!


On the face of things, they have to be admired, many of them are French speakers, who have learnt English and Spanish and after what could have been a great deal of trouble, and have managed to get into Spain and are trying to earn a living which means they don’t resort to outright robbery.

The problem is, of course, that they are part of a giant conspiracy to defraud companies of money, reduce tax collected, sell sub-standard goods to the innocent and ignorant, and who knows what circumstances and conditions those who produce these shoddy goods are working under.

Why is this blatant and highly irritating practice allowed to continue and why don’t the authorities actually do something about cracking down on both the selling of the items and the immigration status of those selling them?



  1. When tourists go to Thailand for example, we come back loaded with the same same but differant goods, and quite proud to tell our friends how much they cost.
    The biggest fraud we have here in Spain is the non payment of Social Security for Staff….
    Why don’t you write about the rights of employees, many Brits are working here in Spain not on contract
    They are just grateful for a job, the thousands of euros business owners pocket here not paying for their staff on contract is beyond belief, isnt that fraud , or cheap labour ???
    Why don’t you write an article for the employed here showing them their rights… and what they are entitled too.
    Some are years here plodding along with no social security which in a few years on all amounts towards their pension, or dole if they go without work.
    On reading this article in your paper, you also mentioned that the lads sold drugs, Watching documents on Spanish TV, these lads are not our biggest problem in Spain for this substance….

  2. it often puzzles me, while walking in Banus, seeing the police, local & national ignore these “looky looky” sellers. No doubt if they were to pay close attention to them and arrest them, confiscate their goods and bang them up there’d be protests from a certain ” element ” of society that their human rights had been abused and they really ought to be allowed to carry on with their illegal trade unmolested.

  3. The problem is, of course, that they are part of a giant conspiracy to defraud the general public of money, reduce their already non existent tax bill, sell sub-standard goods to the innocent and ignorant, taxpayer who incidentally picks up the companys vat bill as well. Who knows what circumstances and conditions those who produce these shoddy goods are working under. Nike / Adidas anyone????

    Why is this blatant and highly irritating practice allowed to continue and why don’t the authorities actually do something about cracking down on both the selling of the items and the fatcat CEO´s /directors financial status, most likely blended in with the likes of the HSBC high wealth tax evaders crew et al.

  4. I think the employed or fairly much all of them know their rights in Spain to be honest Susan, if you employed people you would find that out fairly quickly!

    The problem is it is illegal, these people are mostly illegal immigrants, not paying social, not paying tax, some selling pirated goods and competing with businesses that do have to pay social, do have to pay tax along with all the other costs that go with running a shop, if we allow this then why can’t everyone else do the same?

    Now others working and not paying social is another issue and not one that is related to looky looky issues although you are correct in saying it is also illegal and it is being tackled by inspectors, if someone is caught working for a person unregistered then there is a 6000€ fine… per person but the looky looky men just do not seem to be much of an interest to the authorities when they are actually breaking some important laws while everyone else gets persecuted if they are caught… not really a very fair way of running things is it!

    You are right, these “lads” are not our biggest problem with drugs but they do contribute to the problem and selling drugs is illegal, again if someone else is caught they will get punished, just as these people found doing the same should be. I have seen police putting fines on vehicles for trivial parking offences while some of these people where selling drugs under their noses and the police did nothing but they did fine the vehicles!

  5. I think the issue that nothing is done about them is because 1. They have no money themselves so there is no use fining them. 2. They cannot be thrown out of the country because that opens another can of worms, immigrants today are smarter and know if they do not have their passport an EU country can’t do much with them because of EU Civil rights laws. 3. Jail is not an option as there are too many of them, the jails in Spain are already bulging along with the fact that it costs the government money to keep them in jail… thats my cut on it.

    I remember a few years ago when out having a social, one of the “known local UK bad boys” in the bar came into our company, he had a few beers in him and appeared to be open to answering questions that might otherwise not have been easy to ask. Basically what he said was the best way to avoid getting too much grief from the authorities was to “not have anything in your name”, “not have a credit card” and “not have a bank account”, then they won’t bother too much with you. Now I know that is probably not exactly the case but… I took his point! 😉

  6. We have a business over here and you can pay a couple of thousand a month in high season on social when you have full staff,One of our staff went back to England (she was having a baby) and she needed her contracts for some reason back home, it helped her in the UK system.. The people who come over here are looked after when they are picked up from the boats , but then put out on the streets with no papers , That means no papers no work no work means no money, Its a circle , They come over like Dick Whittington, thinking that Europe has its streets paved with gold, then they are stuck, more so here cos getting social help here in Spain is like getting blood out of a stone, even for the Spanish


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