The number of fines issued for reserving space on beaches in Torrox has increased this year, despite widespread international media attention.
In 2015 Torrox town hall was the first in Spain to start fining 'beach hoggers' - people who left belongings such as towels, sunshades and chairs on the beach early in the morning to reserve the best spots for when they returned later in the day.
Torrox town hall reported that 26 fines were issued during the first summer season, with around 100 items being seized by the authorities. By 2016 it had risen to 52 fines and to date this summer a total of 42 people have received a fine with 250 items being seized. However, the previous two years included figures for September. As such town hall sources anticipate that this year’s final number is set to be higher.
Owners of the seized beach items must pay a 30 euro fine to get their property back and have one month in which to do so.
Town hall sources say that fines are higher and in some cases have reached 930 euros when people have acted against a 2015 law on citizen safety (4/2015 Seguridad Ciudadana) by becoming abusive towards town hall officials or local police officers. Seven people have been reported for such behaviour so far this summer.
Other towns have followed suit since Torrox pioneered the system, including nearby Algarrobo and Benalmádena. Earlier this year Nerja also passed a law to start to enforce fines for left items and it includes banning fires and camping on its beaches, except on certain occasions, such as San Juan. The town hall has yet to implement the law.