Orihuela Costa Local Police seem, at last, to be taking some action against the sale of counterfeit goods in Cabo Roig, having recently carried out a number of interventions amongst illegal traders.
In total the agents have seized more than 450 pairs of trainers, Nike, Converse, Adidas, Reebok and Levis as well as a large quantity of clothing, said to be valued at a market a value in excess of 12,000 euros.
Searches were carried out of cars and vans, although these provided only minimal results as the drivers were carrying only a small amount of goods in order to avoid police action. The bulk of the clothing was confiscated from a warehouse, which the traders used to supply themselves with counterfeit material.
As a result of the searches two people were arrested for an alleged crime against industrial property and have already appeared in court.
The authorities say that these actions are linked to a greater police presence in the Cabo Roig area during afternoons and evenings, in order to avoid illegal trading which local residents say is completely out of control
Shopkeepers in the area have been appealing for the police to take action against these illegal traders for many years which, for the most part, has had little effect.
Last summer David Sánchez, President of the Association of Small and Medium Traders and Professionals in Torrevieja, Apymeco, added his weight to the concerns that were being expressed as he publicly denounced “the proliferation of organized illegal street vending groups” in the area as did the Association of Merchants of Acequión District, chaired by Noelia Lozano.
While some seizures were carried out in Torrevieja there seemed to be little action taken in Cabo Roig where, with the occasional arrival of the Local Police, the ‘looky looky men’ would quickly retreat to the top of the bridge that runs over the N332 road by the pyramid roundabout.
The threat of them throwing their goods onto the cars travelling underneath was enough to ensure that the police took no further action, allowing the traders to subsequently return to their previously abandoned pitches as soon as they moved on to another location.
As more and more visitors, tourists and holidaymakers, now begin to arrive in the area with the onset of the warm weather, however, the ‘Looky Looky’ men, are now being joined by dozens of other illegal street traders on the Cabo Roig strip.
In the past the police presence has been absolutely negligible and on the few occasions that officers have made an appearance they have shown little interest in making arrests or confiscating the increasing mountain of illegal products from upwards of 40 or 50 vendors.
Indeed the goods that have been confiscated probably equate to the amount carried by about half a dozen vendors so the effect that the police action will have on their stocks is likely to be negligible.
Of course there are many who would argue that the ‘illegals’ add a bit of colour and fun to the occasion. Their mischievous grins and their calls of ‘Lovely Jubbly’ or ‘Looky looky’ can often be quite welcoming. But there are those also, who see them as being a menace and often quite intimidating toward holidaymakers, who are seeking nothing more than a quiet stroll, meal or a lazy evening out.
But now the Police, at long last, are reminding members of the public that illegal trading is a menace, “it is unlawful and it is prohibited,” they say. They add that many of the traders are in the country illegally and are being exploited by a small number of ‘handlers’ while the counterfeiters’ workers also suffer poor local working conditions and lack any occupational benefits.
So not only are the traders largely illegal immigrants who should not be in the country in the first place, but they are selling counterfeit items on which they are paying absolutely no taxes, and in so doing they are taking the legitimate trade away from those shopkeepers and vendors who are trading legally.
Whilst the situation in Torrevieja is now being addressed let us hope that the Local Police in Orihuela have now also realised that legitimate businessmen have had enough and they now start to take the measures necessary to curb the actions of the ‘Looky Looky’ men, and other illegal street traders, on the Cabo Roig strip, before the situation, once again, gets completely out of control.