Tourists in Spain face £170 on the spot fines for buying souvenirs from illegal traders

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

Spain is set to crack down on tourists who purchase from unlicensed traders, with undercover police officers patrolling the streets of Costa Blanca and issuing fines to unsuspecting shoppers.

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

Plain-clothed police will be conducting patrols throughout the peak summer holiday period, and individuals caught buying from unlicensed 'manteros' will be hit with immediate fines of up to €200 (around £170).

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

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 peak of summer, the city's population more than doubles to approximately 500,000, as reported by Alicante Today, reports Birmingham Live.

There have been calls on Spain's Costa del Sol for stricter penalties against shoppers who purchase from the so-called 'looky looky men'. These wandering street vendors, often seen peddling trinkets, clothing and counterfeit items 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.