HOLIDAYMAKERS out for an evening stroll had a grandstand view of a British Royal Navy ship escort a Spanish warship out of Gibraltar waters.
HMS Sabre was quickly on the scene when the Spanish naval boat‘strayed’ into The Rock’s waters.
The Royal Navy ship escorted the Spanish boat back out into international waters.
It is not unusual for Spanish craft to encroach, but it is normally the Guardia Civil maritime patrols that need to be seen off rather than the Spanish Navy.
They often claim they are patrolling the area to see off tobacco smugglers who cost the Spanish treasury a fortune in lost taxes.
In Andalucia – the Spanish region bordering Gibraltar – authorities claim 30.4% of cigarettes bought are smuggled.
The Spanish government says Gibraltar is the source of 38.4% of all tobacco smuggled into the country.
However, many Gibraltarians suspect this is simply an excuse to keep a Spanish presence visible in The Rock’s waters as a war of words between Madrid and the UK government about Gibraltar’s future status continues.