Costa del Sol News - 5th August 2011

News from Andalucia & Costa del Sol

News Archive In association with

The Costa del Sol weekly newspaper, on sale at newsagents.


DVLA to the rescue

Driving licence quandary solved after Britons had their documents stolen

By Dave Jones

THE UK'S & VEHICLE Licensing Agency (DVLA) has stepped in to advise a British couple who had their UK driving licences stolen in Spain and were unable to gain replacements.

The residents, who recently moved to Spain, contacted CBNews after finding they were unable to obtain replacement driving licences - or find out how to go about it from the Spanish or British authorities.

The couple, who asked not to be named, reported they suffered the theft when visiting the Ikea store in Murcia city in April.

"Amongst the contents of the bag, were both of our driving licences."

He said that more than three months after the theft they were still trying to obtain replacement driving licences - either UK or Spanish.


Better late than never

Coín fire station begins operating, two years after opening

By Dave Jamieson

IRISH CITIZEN, Christopher Kinahan, who was arrested last year for allegedly being the head of an Irish mafia gang, has again been arrested this time at the request of the Belgian authorities.

It has now emerged that Kinahan was rearrested in Estepona in early July and is accused of money laundering by Belgium. He has been transferred to a prison in Madrid to await extradition proceedings under an international find and capture warrant.

According to official sources Kinahan will not contest his extradition although the situation is complicated because he also has to answer charges before an Estepona court.

Kinahan was arrested last year in Estepona in a joint Irish, UK, Spanish police operation that netted 30 people in Operation Shovel with simultaneous arrests being carried out in each country. The operation started on May 25 and was said to be a major blow to organised crime.

At the time the Ministry of the Interior stated that the criminal gang operated on an international scale and was primarily involved in drug trafficking and money laundering.


Belgium requests Kinahan's rearrest

The Irishman had been previously detained in an international organised crime operation last year

By David Eade

IRISH CITIZEN, Christopher Kinahan, who was arrested last year for allegedly being the head of an Irish mafia gang, has again been arrested this time at the request of the Belgian authorities.

It has now emerged that Kinahan was rearrested in Estepona in early July and is accused of money laundering by Belgium. He has been transferred to a prison in Madrid to await extradition proceedings under an international find and capture warrant.

According to official sources Kinahan will not contest his extradition although the situation is complicated because he also has to answer charges before an Estepona court.

Kinahan was arrested last year in Estepona in a joint Irish, UK, Spanish police operation that netted 30 people in Operation Shovel with simultaneous arrests being carried out in each country. The operation started on May 25 and was said to be a major blow to organised crime.

At the time the Ministry of the Interior stated that the criminal gang operated on an international scale and was primarily involved in drug trafficking and money laundering.

Read more in the August 4 print edition of CDSN


Jail for drivers who cause deadly accidents

Negligence charges will be faced by drivers who cause fatal or serious injury

By Oliver McIntyre

NEGLIGENT drivers who cause accidents that result in deaths or serious injuries will automatically face criminal charges with potential jail terms of up to four years, according to stiffened guidelines launched by the country's road safety prosecutor last week.

Bartolomé Vargas announced the move after it was agreed at a meeting he held last Wednesday with traffic police officials from around the country.

Previously prosecutors handling such cases might consider the possibility of a criminal negligence charge, but now they will automatically initiate the criminal charge, he said.

The negligence charges will be faced by drivers who cause fatal or serious injury accidents while committing driving infractions that are considered criminal offences, such as severe speeding (in excess of 150 kph), drink driving, tailgating or talking on the phone while driving.

Negligent homicide carries a prison term of one to four years in prison while negligently causing serious bodily harm (such as spinal injuries, brain damage or severe multiple injuries) brings three months to three years in prison.

The new guideline, which is effective immediately, does not change the law but calls for a stricter application of it.


SOCA appeals for help in tracing violent escapees

Holidaymakers and expats on the Spanish Costas are asked to be on the look out for the two fugitives

By Dave Jamieson

THE UK'S Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) is asking holidaymakers and expats on the Spanish Costas to be on the look out for two fugitives.

The men, Kirk Bradley and Anthony Downes, escaped on Monday 18 July when the prison van they were travelling in was attacked by a gang armed with guns and baseball bats. At the time they were on their way from HMP Manchester to a court in Liverpool to face firearms charges. The security van driver and his passenger were taken to hospital though they are not thought to be badly hurt. The attackers escaped with the prisoners in a car.

SOCA believes that because of long-standing links the men may be attempting to travel to Spain, or may even already be there. Downes is known to be an associate of Kevin Parle, another fugitive on the Crimestoppers 'most wanted' list, who is thought to be in Spain and is wanted in connection with two murders in Liverpool.

SOCA's Frank Francis said: "These are dangerous men and it is very important that nobody approaches them. We are asking people who think they may have seen them to call Crimestoppers, either in Spain or in the UK. You can do this free, and completely anonymously. Our priority is getting these two back into custody as soon as possible."


Police move to ensure eviction of defaulters

Citizen groups have already stopped over 50 court evictions for non-payment of mortgages

By Dave Jamieson

POLICE IN Madrid last week moved in to prevent protestors from stopping the eviction of an unemployed mother of two. A citizen's group called the Platform for the Mortgage Affected has already stopped over 50 court evictions for non-payment of mortgages.

The group, which stopped an attempt to evict the same family two weeks ago, was mobilised on Wednesday morning when it found out that the court had issued a second notice of eviction. The family consists of a 55-year-old unemployed woman, her 24-year-old daughter who is also unemployed, and her 25-year-old son who is 77 per cent disabled.

At 7.45am, riot police pushed back around 20 protestors and cordoned the area off, preventing the dozens who arrived later from getting anywhere near the property. Once the area was cleared, the judicial committee, made up of two court bailiffs, a municipal police officer, a locksmith and a bank representative, was allowed through. A padlock on the front door was broken open and the eviction notice served.

Eighteen years ago, the woman was forced to mortgage her home to pay debts which she and her husband had accumulated. In 2002, following her divorce, she went to a debt consolidator who helped her get another mortgage from the Mediterráneo Savings Bank. Now the bank is demanding 200,000 euros, plus interest.


Greenpeace warning over Costa gas exploration

Repsol has said it will study all restrictions before deciding whether to go ahead with the project

By Oliver McIntyre

GREENPEACE last week warned that the recently approved natural gas exploration off the coast of Mijas and Fuengirola will cause "chronic contamination" and will negatively impact sea life in the zone. The damage would affect not only the environment, but the economically important tourism and fishing industries in the area, said the environmental group.

Earlier this month the Environment Ministry gave Repsol the green light to move forward with the exploration, under the condition that it complies with a series of conditions to minimise environmental impacts. Among these is the development of an accident mitigation plan, and that the drilling be performed between the months of February and April in order to avoid affecting whale and bird migration or mating periods, as well as the tourist season.

But Greenpeace argues that the process of setting up the platform and performing drilling will cause direct and lasting impacts on marine life. Among other things, it says that drilling fluids used in the process are "toxic" substances that contain chemicals and heavy metals that will "destroy" important beds of sea grass (Posidonia oceanica) that provide habitat for "a thousand animal species and around 400 plant species."

A little over seven kilometres from the exploration zone, which is located nine kilometres south of the beaches of Mijas and 12 kilometres southwest of Fuengilora, lies the Calahonda sea grass bed, listed as a Site of Community Interest by the EU.

Other than the sea grass, the worst impacts would be suffered by marine mammals, turtles, and tuna and related fish species, says the group.

Further, it says debris created by the drilling process would likely remain on the seafloor, slowly releasing contamination that could affect local beaches.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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