Holidaymakers in Spain warned of on-the-spot £170 fines for flouting shopping rules

People are being urged not to buy items from illegal street vendors in a Spanish holiday hotspot
-Credit: (Image: Getty Images)

Tourists in Spain are being warned about fines for buying goods from unlicensed traders.

As part of a new crackdown, undercover police officers will be patrolling the streets of Costa Blanca and handing out sanctions to unsuspecting shoppers. The holiday hotspot is clamping down on illegal street vendors, who sell everything from trainers and sunglasses to counterfeit 'designer' handbags and watches.

Tourists often fall for the ruse, drawn in by the rock-bottom prices, however travellers who buy cheap souvenirs could now find themselves £170 out-of-pocket. Police in plain clothing will be conducting patrols in the city throughout the peak summer holiday period and people caught buying from unlicensed 'manteros' will be hit with on-the-spot fines of up to €200 (the equivalent of £170), reports BirminghamLive.

The sellers are known locally in Spain as manteros or 'top mantas' because they often ply their wares from the top of blankets laid out in the street. Recently, the Guardia Civil seized several tonnes of counterfeit products from a warehouse in Alicante that were intended for street sellers.

The mayor of Torrevieja, a busy city on the Costa Blanca, has requested an increase in police numbers this summer to enforce the rules. At the height of summer, the city's population more than doubles to around 500,000, according to Alicante Today.

Calls have also been made in Spain's Costa del Sol to impose tougher sanctions on shoppers who buy from so-called 'looky looky men'. The roaming street vendors can often be seen selling trinkets, clothes and counterfeit gear to sunbathers on Spain's beaches, but many are doing so illegally without a licence.

The local Association of Traders and Businessmen claims that genuine shopkeepers in the coastal town of Benalmádena are losing between 20 and 30 per cent of their earnings to the rogue salesmen.