Police crackdown on illegal street vending sees confiscations almost double

Men selling goods on a Marbella beach.
Men selling goods on a Marbella beach. / JOSELE
  • Marbella's campaign to stop street hawking started earlier this year, before the start of the high season

Police in Marbella are reporting a significant increase in items confiscated from illegal vendors compared to this time last year.

2019 figures have soared to 8,155 to date, with 7,004 articles seized after they were abandoned when their owners were taken by surprise, and a further 1,051 following arrests. These statistics overshadow those of 2018, when the number of items seized reached only 10,777 in the entire 12-month period.

The head of Local Police, Javier Martín, points towards the increased attention given to this illegal activity and this year's early launch of Marbella's preventative campaign as reasons for the rise.

The campaign, which aims to deter illegal street vendors, this year was well under way before the start of the high season. The councillor responsible for Security, José Eduardo Díaz, says that Marbella is "pioneering and exemplary" in its approach towards the fight against this illegal activity. "Although the crime has not been eradicated entirely, it has been noticeably reduced," Díaz says.

Martín warns, however, that illegal vendors have "wisened up" to the police force's new approach and are changing their habits as a result.

Police officers also have to contend with possibly dangerous situations, but Martín says that nothing serious has happened since a police officer was assaulted a couple of years ago. He puts this lull down to the skill of the force.

Statistics show that the majority of vendors arrested are of African origin, yet arrests have also been made of Central Europeans and South Americans.

Police procedure upon arrest of a vendor depends upon whether the individual's situation in Spain is legal. If legal, the vendor's merchandise is confiscated and proceedings begin for breaking the law.

If the individual has entered Spain illegally, proceedings begin for their deportation from the country. All products confiscated are destroyed in the Casares waste treatment plant.