Costa Blanca illegal drinks sellers ‘owe thousands in fines’

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SCOT-FREE: Vendors habitually reoffend.

FINES totalling more than €400,000 handed to illegal street and beach vendors in Benidorm are unlikely to ever be paid, police say.

The shocking claim comes after two officers were physically attacked by a dozen hawkers as they tried to issue a penalty, leading to a brawl.

Five policemen were eventually injured, with three assailants arrested and provisionally jailed as they await trial.

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But a spokesperson for the local force said that the latter decision is just an “oasis in the desert of impunity” in which illegal vendors operate.

Almost 1,400 penalties, an average of 18 per day, have been lodged by Local Police in Benidorm since June 1, with hawkers caught on the street fined €1,200 and those on the beach €300.

However, as with the notorious pea and potato men, con artists who set up illegal gambling games on the city streets, or the looky-looky men who sell counterfeit jewellery and clothing, a lack of firm legislation means that those who sell mojitos and other drinks on the beach are unlikely to ever be punished.

Investigators say that because the hawkers have no payroll or declared income, they simply declare themselves insolvent on arrival at the station to pay a fine.

In addition, they never possess anything in their name meaning no property can be seized, and they continue to sell drinks.

The only solution appears to be to increase the number of officers patrolling the resort’s sandy strips.

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