Spain introduces £170 fines for British holidaymakers buying cheap souvenirs

British expats and tourists walk past English bars in Benalmadena, Spain
-Credit: (Image: Getty Images)


Holidaymakers in Spain are being warned of a new crackdown on unlicensed street vendors, with undercover police officers patrolling the streets of Costa Blanca and issuing fines to unsuspecting tourists.

The popular holiday destination is taking a stand against illegal street sellers, who offer everything from trainers and sunglasses to counterfeit 'designer' handbags and watches. Tourists, lured by the bargain prices, often fall into the trap, but those who buy these cheap souvenirs could now find themselves £170 poorer.

Plain-clothed police will be on patrol throughout the peak summer holiday period, and anyone caught buying from unlicensed 'manteros' will face immediate fines of up to €200 (around £170).

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These sellers, known locally as manteros or 'top mantas', typically display their goods on blankets laid out in the street. Recently, the Guardia Civil confiscated several tonnes of counterfeit products intended for street sellers from a warehouse in Alicante.

The mayor of Torrevieja, a bustling city on the Costa Blanca, has called for an increase in police presence this summer to enforce the rules. During the height of summer, the city's population more than doubles to approximately 500,000, reports Alicante Today, reports Birmingham Live.

There have been calls on Spain's Costa del Sol for stricter penalties against shoppers who purchase from the infamous 'looky looky men'. These wandering street vendors, often seen peddling trinkets, clothing and counterfeit goods to beachgoers in Spain, are frequently operating illegally without a licence.

The local Association of Traders and Businessmen alleges that legitimate shop owners in the coastal town of Benalmadena are losing between 20 and 30 per cent of their profits to these unlicensed sellers.