THERE was a certain irony when a photograph appeared on social media showing a member of the Guardia Civil in uniform making a purchase in Gibraltar.
It is the Guardia Civil officers who are responsible for checking those leaving Gibraltar to ensure that they are not carrying dutiable goods above approved limits and only last week, a senior officer visited La Linea and called on Gibraltar to be more helpful to stop tobacco smuggling.
It now appears that many of the cigarettes that still find their way back to Spain have in fact been produced and sold by Spanish manufacturers to wholesalers in Gibraltar, thus ensuring significant funds to be paid to the Spanish government.
In the case of the Guardia Civil officer, those who are not happy with Spain’s stance on sovereignty over the Rock commented that this was a deliberate case of showing how the future would look if Spain is successful in its demands but that may be a conspiracy theory too far!
Local authorities have however contacted their opposite numbers across the border pointing out that it is polite convention that members of military forces – which is what the Guardia Civil force is – do not enter another jurisdiction in uniform and requesting that this convention be observed.
There is no suggestion that the officer involved acted in any way that was aggressive or rude and did not carry his gun nor try to act as if he had any jurisdiction within Gibraltar.