The Benidorm sun comes out, beach umbrellas go up, sunbathers get thirsty, and Levante Beach hawkers sell to a captive clientele.
These unofficial, unlicensed traders are breaking local bylaws, although this does not deter them. Nor does it discourage British tourists from buying their cocktails, sangria and mojitos or wedges of watermelon.
According to David Garcia Cooke, spokesman for the British Benidorm Association, many believe the salesmen are waiters from beachfront bars selling reliable products, prepared in hygienic conditions.
“Health laws in the UK are very strict,” Garcia Cooke told a Spanish interviewer. “It doesn’t occur to them that the drinks they’re buying were probably made up on a side street and the fruit was cut up in the boot of a car.”
The vendors would probably go to prison in the UK because they are putting their clients at risk, he added. Spain’s health and safety laws are no less strict and since 2014, an extra 10 Local Police officers have been taken on to supplement summer patrols and target the vendors.
They do not start until the second week of June and until then extra police are allocated on Fridays and at the weekend. Once summer is in full swing, 24 policemen will patrol Benidorm’s six kilometres of beaches on foot and motor-scooters, to discourage the vendors.
Whether they can discourage their customers is another matter.