Illegal Holiday Lets In Spain

Tourist hot spots across Spain, especially in Ibiza, are cracking down on ‘black market’ rentals as private owners often don’t pay tax and are seen as unfair competition to hotels.

Under sweeping new rules, owners of flats and villas who want to rent out their homes must gain a licence from the local council and declare everyone who stays in them and the money paid. If not, they will face hefty fines. In the Balearics, other residents of apartment blocks who live in their flats permanently have been told to shop anyone suspected of illegal holiday rentals. Council officers have information and addresses of illegal lettings and even copies of advertisements. Many have been alerted because of noise and parties on balconies or terraces after midnight or by the vast amount of beach towels hanging over the railings.

Owners of illegal lettings will face fines of up to 40,000€ with substantial reductions for early payment. After this, they would have to withdraw them from the market or face further penalties.

Europe Gives Spain €4.2m To Combat Terrorism And Organised Crime

The grant will also be used for vehicle registration plate reading systems, among other information technology.

In total, the European Commission has given Spain €32.6m to help with the migration crisis and with national security since July. Spain is a popular ‘back door’ for migrants seeking to reach Europe, as it is the EU’s only land border with the continent of Africa.

Recovering Mansion ‘Stolen’ By Franco

Galicia’s fight to reclaim the Meirás country estate from the family of dictator General Franco has taken a new twist: for the mansion to be restored to public hands, the State would have to pay its current ‘owners’ maintenance costs dating back to 1975.

Franco took the estate from the people of the town of Sada (Coruña) during his iron-fisted fascist régime and an ongoing campaign for it to be given back to the region of Galicia has led to a group of young adults who peacefully entered the complex on what was due to be an open day for the public facing huge fines.

The descendants of Franco, who are considered the owners, are suing the campaigners for ‘incitement to hatred’ after they hung a banner from the roof calling for the estate to be returned to the people. Activists affected say it is ‘tragically ironic’ that the relatives of a fascist dictator should be suing them for ‘hate crimes’.

The estate used to be a summer home for the author Emilia Pardo Bazán until Franco decided to ‘buy’ it via an enforced form of crowdfunding. Residents were obliged to pay prohibitive taxes which were used by the then leader to buy the property, back in 1938. It is now on the market for a cool €8 million.

Electric Wheelchair Travelled On Motorway

Traffic police in Mijas, pulled up a man travelling at 10km/hr on a single-carriageway stretch of the A-7 motorway in an electric wheelchair. An ‘elderly person’ was moving at a crawl in the right-hand lane in the Marbella direction, on the carriageway itself, not even on the hard shoulder. By the time police arrived, he had moved his wheelchair onto a pavement off the main road, meaning he was travelling legally, so he was not fined.

These vehicles are not permitted on roads, except when crossing them and should only be used on pavements or in pedestrianised areas.

German Tourist Caught Stealing Artefacts

A German tourist has been caught red-handed stealing archaeological artefacts from a restricted excavation site in Cartagena after slipping into the Molinete dig and placing several objects into a freezer box.

The artefacts stolen are thought to be ceramic pieces such as amphorae dating back to the Roman era, since vestiges of this historical period are ubiquitous in Cartagena.

Elche Youngster and Baby Captured By Cult Return To Spain

A young woman from Elche lured into a sect in Perú has returned along with her father and two-month-old baby daughter.

Patricia Aguilar Poveda, 19, was traced in July after her father Alberto travelled to the Peruvian Amazon and provided substantial help to the investigation out of the family savings and a crowdfunding operation.

His daughter, vulnerable, grieving and seeking answers after her uncle died at the age of 29, was cannon-fodder for her captor, Félix Steven Manrique, 34, who claimed to be a guru leading the cult known as Gnosis. He convinced 16-year-old Patricia that they were in love and that God had chosen her to repopulate the earth. Their contact was entirely online until just days after her 18th birthday in January 2017 when she took some of her parents› savings and left for Perú.

She and at least two other women who had already had children by Manrique were kept captive in a flat in Lima and suffered repeated violence, including rape. The children, who did not go to school, were exceptionally aggressive, attacking other kids in the district.

Eventually the women and children were moved to huts in a very hazardous part of the Amazon a long way off the tourist trail where even police would not go.

Patricia’s congenital heart condition meant her pregnancy and labour in early June, were extremely high-risk, but she gave birth alone in the jungle with only a native tribal woman to help her and no medication. She and the baby girl, when they were found living in a dilapidated hut, were very underweight and malnourished and covered in mosquito bites.

In the early months after her disappearance, she went to the Spanish embassy in person several times to insist she was not kidnapped and urging them to stop the search. Her decision to return to Spain is voluntary and she is happy to be going back to her family and old friends.

Too Many Spaniards’ In Benidorm ‘Ruins’ Brit’s Holiday

A British pensioner who saved up for months to go on holiday in Benidorm has complained to Thomas Cook that there were ‘too many Spanish people’ in her hotel and asked for a refund.

Freda Jackson, 81, a retired care assistant from Blackburn, has mobility problems and was travelling with a friend aged 61, both of whom had paid for the holiday costing them €1,270 (1,160 pounds).

Freda received an apology and the promise of a voucher for €82.11 (75 pounds) towards another holiday from Thomas Cook – increased to 566 pounds (€619.67) to be split between the pair after Freda rejected the first offer, because of other, legitimate complaints she had about her trip.

Ms Jackson was advised of date changes just six days before her flight and, despite asking for a hotel on the flat because of her mobility problems, was based in the Poseidon Playa on a steep slope, on the 14th floor. After complaining, she was moved to the second floor, but says she still had to get down 42 steps to the swimming pool. The hotel staff speak fluent English and insisted they offered Ms Jackson help getting down the slope, but she refused assistance.

She said the fact that there were ‘too many Spaniards’ in Benidorm ruined her holiday. “The hotel was full of Spanish holidaymakers and they really got on our nerves because they were just so rude,” she says. “The entertainment in the hotel was all focused and catered for the Spanish – why can’t the Spanish go somewhere else for their holidays?”