News from Andalucia & Costa del Sol
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Anger in Gibraltar after Guardia Civil incursion
The Rock demands Royal Navy protection after last week's incident
By David Eade and Suzan Davenport
LAST WEEK saw an increase in tension in Gibraltar's waters over incursions by Guardia Civil patrol boats.
On Wednesday it was alleged that a small group of locals had reported to the Royal Gibraltar Police that a Guardia Civil launch had opened fire, for unknown reasons, on a Gibraltar boat out in the bay which was apparently on a pleasure ride.
This provoked widespread coverage in the Gibraltar media as the boat in question had evaded the Guardia Civil and raced to Ocean Village for safety. The Royal Gibraltar Police said it had spoken to the Guardia Civil who denied firing and would be taking no further action. The Gibraltar government issued no statement.
All that changed on Monday when the Gibraltar government was stung into issuing a furious statement over a further incident on the Friday involving the Guardia Civil patrol boat, Rio Ceden.
The statement read: "Her Majesty's Government of Gibraltar has received confirmed reports that officers of the Guardia Civil vessel Rio Ceden boarded and took control of a Gibraltar registered vessel in British Gibraltar Territorial Waters and then forcibly conveyed it and its occupants to Algeciras at high speed and without navigational lights. They subsequently confiscated perfectly legal equipment aboard the vessel. The individuals aboard the vessel were not suspected of being involved in any illicit activity of any kind."
Residents' noise payout raised to €5.2 million
Town hall did not resolve the late-night bar noise until November 2008, says court
By Dave Jamieson
THE PRICE Vélez-Málaga must pay for failing to curtail noise in the El Copo nightlife zone continues to grow. The town hall now estimates at over 5.2 million euros its total cost for compensating 18 local residents who in 2003 won a lawsuit over the noise.
The estimate comes after the Regional Supreme Court (TSJA) in May issued a ruling that the town hall's civil responsibility for the noise problems continued until the situation was resolved in November 2008.
The original 2003 sentence - which was upheld on appeal in 2008 - ordered the town hall to pay 156,000 euros to each of the 18 homeowners, or a total of more than 2.8 million euros, for the noise nuisance they suffered for the 13 years between 1990 and 2003. But it also established an additional 12,000 euros per year per claimant from the moment of the sentence until the time noise problem was resolved.
With the court's new ruling that the problem was not resolved until November 2008, that secondary compensation payment, with interest, now totals some 1.8 million euros.
In addition, the town hall now owes the residents an estimated total of nearly 1.2 million euros in interest for the originally ordered compensation.
Brits finally win apartment awarded in 2006 draw
Couple filed suit after company failed to hand over the propertyBy Oliver McIntyre
A BRITISH couple who won a draw for a brand new apartment in Benalmádena in 2006 have won a court case against the companies behind the scheme, which never delivered the apartment.
Malcolm and Suzan Windle were the lucky winners of the draw for a 248,000-euro apartment at Arenal Golf in April 2006, and were photographed in a symbolic ‘handing over of the key' ceremony in a pilot apartment at the development.
But when construction was complete, the apartment was never handed over. At first the excuse was a delay in the licence of first occupation, but it soon became apparent there were deeper problems.
Car stolen with year-old baby insideIrish mum was loading groceries in the boot when the thief drove off with the car
By Oliver McIntyre
AN Irish woman last week had her car stolen with her one-year-old infant inside the vehicle.
The incident happened on Saturday afternoon when the thief jumped into the Audi Q7 four-wheel-drive at a Torremolinos supermarket as the woman was loading her groceries into the back, having already buckled her baby into the infant seat.
A witness immediately called the police and dispatchers sent out the word to officers, giving a description of the vehicle and the direction it was heading. A patrol car closed in on the thief when he pulled into short dead-end street off of Avenida Antonio Machado in Benalmádena Costa, near Plaza Solymar.
The suspect, a 21-year-old Romanian man, fled from the vehicle and tried to hide under a parked car, but officers spotted him and took him under arrest.
Spain's tax evasion blight
25 per cent of all transactions are ‘under the table', says tax workers' union
By Dave Jones
UP TO 25% of all financial transactions in Spain take place under the table.
According to figures produced by the Gestha union which represents workers in the Treasury, tax evasion runs to 240 billion euros each year.
They finger the construction industry and estate agents as some of the worst offenders.
Fraud involving the buying and selling of property is costing the tax man 8.6 billion euros, they estimate.
Union officials also flagged up illegal rentals. They estimate that six out of 10 agreements between tenant and lessee do not involve contracts.
"We calculate that there are more than one million such illegal home rentals," noted their report.
"This generates around 2.1 billion euros each year where no tax is paid."
Many of these rentals occur on the Costas during the holiday season.
They added that a large proportion involve ‘second homes' and take place in the non-Spanish community.
€66m 'wasted' on poor coastal management
Greenpeace report says 'patch job' fixes and lack of an integrated coastal management policy cause a "constant waste" of public money
By Oliver McIntyre
THE government has "wasted" 66 million euros on "patch-job" fixes to coastal areas in Andalucía, which will mean further expenses in coming years, according to a new report from Greenpeace.
The environmental group cites work such as sand replacement on beaches, dredging, the construction of breakwaters or the reconstruction of paseo marítimo beachfront promenades, and says the "constant waste" of public money on these projects could be prevented with "an integrated coastal management policy".
The revelations are part of Greenpeace's latest Destrucción a Toda Costa report, its annual assessment of the situation of Spain's coastline.
Nationwide the group says the State pays an average of 100 million euros a year on "poor management" of the coasts.
As examples in Andalucía, the report says that in 2011 alone 13 million euros (some 16,250 euros per square metre) was spent on regenerating the Baños del Carmen beach in Málaga, and 1.6 million euros went for sand replacement on the beaches between Puerto de Garrucha and Río Almazora in Almería.