A street vendor with bags on a Marbella beach. :: JOSELE-LANZA
On seafront promenades, beaches, in hotels. Every corner of every tourist resort in every part of Spain sees the same situation year after year with the arrival of the summer season - illegal street sellers trying to flog their wares, in any way they can. Bags, sunglasses, scarves and an endless array of other goods, many of them fake, are displayed and paraded so visitors cannot fail to see them. Some buy. Others tire of the relentless sales pitch.
“A time comes when you get fed up with so many street vendors. It’s awful,” says Sofía Romera, who comes from Valencia and is spending her summer holiday in Marbella.
It seems that the special force of local police officers brought in to deal with the army of illegal street vendors in Marbella has not yet made much difference.
This year 26 officers have been assigned to the town’s beaches to control the situation. Alongside these are a number of plain-clothes policemen, keeping an eye on any illegal activity, such as street selling and massages. In the town 170 police officers are also focused on these security issues.
Marbella councillor Félix Romero said: “This year, with more visitors than ever in Marbella, we have doubled the police presence. Controlling illegal street vendors is a priority for us.”
In spite of the reinforced effort, the problem persists. “We know people need to earn a living but we are all suffering,” said Sebastián Romero, who works in a souvenir shop.