Tourists on the Costa del Sol are being fined and having their belongings confiscated after “reserving” areas on the busy beachfront and then disappearing for hours.
Officials in Torrox, a popular destination with British holidaymakers near Marbella on the Spanish coast, have issued sunbathers with a warning after they used towels, sun loungers, lilos and other inflatable items to hold spots on two of the region’s most popular beaches, Ferrara and El Morche, while their owners went for a siesta.
Police and Civil Protection have intensified their patrols, with more than 100 interventions carried out over the weekend, according to local media.
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Images shared on the council’s Facebook page show officials removing beach kit and writing fines.
The council wrote: “May we remind all those using our beaches that reserving a space is not permitted.
Recordar a todos los usuarios de nuestras playas que la reserva de espacio no está permitida. Desde la Policía Local de…
“Torrox Local Police and Civil Protection Torrox coordinate and watch over compliance with this rule and continue to collect beach items that are reserving spaces.”
It continued: “This year, we have Covid-19 as an additional reason to be responsible and not leave such items that take up a space, that for reasons of capacity and distancing, can be used by other users.
“Belongings are collected when it is believed that the owners have gone home and take hours to come back, often after having a nap in many cases…Now more than ever #BeResponsible.”
Officials clarified that those leaving their belongings on the beach while eating at nearby restaurants or bars, and those who remain close by, will not be fined.
Ensuring beaches comply with capacity restrictions has been a challenge for officials in the busiest resorts as tourists make the most of the good weather.
At least 15 beaches erected “full” signs in the Malaga province on Sunday after reaching capacity by midday.
Nerja’s security councillor, Francisco Arce, said: “We are closing between five or six beaches every weekend and some also during the week when they reach capacity.”
Spain reopened its borders to tourists in late June after being hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.
The country attracts around 80 million tourists every year, with tourism providing more than 12 per cent of its GDP.
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