As well as a front page article in Diario Informacion on Wednesday, in which the newspaper is scathing in it’s criticism of the Orihuela Council, the Orihuela Chamber of Commerce has also issued a press release criticising the Municipal Corporation and its lack of action against the “manteros” that are trading illegally on the coast.

Related: Cabo Roig Businessmen vow to rid the area of Manteros and their drugs

The Chamber says that it shares the demands of the Orihuela Costa business community in requesting that the City Council and the authorities of the Provincial Council, the Generalitat Valenciana and the Government Subdivision, take appropriate measures to curb such illegal sales in the Oriolan coast and do more to protect the entrepreneurs who contribute to the area’s wealth, against those who occupy irregular spaces in Aguamarina and Cabo Roig.

Constant flood of manteros overwhelms Orihuela Costa
Constant flood of manteros overwhelms Orihuela Costa

The president of the Chamber, Mario Martinez, said that “we are united by a close relationship with the businessmen of our coast, with whom we maintain a permanent contact”. Martinez added that such work is essential “to generate employment and wealth in our municipality, as well as to attract tourists. In addition, the coastal businessmen comply with the law in fiscal matters, they pay their taxes and social security and they also comply with the regulations and the municipal ordinances, while the ‘looky looky men’ do not.”

Meanwhile the article in Diario Informacion says that there are in excess of 60 ‘Top Blanket’ sellers who set themselves up on the Aguamarina promenade every evening, preventing pedestrians from passing in front of shops and bars. They state that the Association in the area reports that the sale of drugs has also increased and that, as the Policia Local are completely ineffective in dealing with the matter it must now be put into the hands of the Guardia Civil.

The Federation of Associations of Orihuela Costa (FAOC) demands that the police must attend the Orihuela Costa more often and seize the illegal products. “The administration is always saying that there are no resources but if there were a continuous patrol every evening, between 7 pm and midnight, the ‘top blanket’ sales would be eradicated,” says its president, Tomás Moreno.

“They do a lot of damage to the merchants, not only the small ones, but also to the shopping centre in La Zenia because if someone buys a counterfeit bag in Cabo Roig they will not spend their money in Zenia Boulevard,” he says.

The manteros now occupy the entire right bank, next to the service road of the N-332 between Cabo Roig and Campoamor. “It gives the appearance of a third-world aspect, it damages trade, tourism and, above all, the image of Orihuela Costa,” says Moreno, who says that “it is now beginning to assume an uncontrollable and unsustainable look.”

The Cabo Roig businessmen also denounce an added problem, the increase in drug trafficking in the area by some of the manteros. According to a spokesman from the Association of Cabo Roig businessmen, “They can regularly be seen carrying out transactions in sight of everyone. The authorities and the police turn a blind eye to the problem, they do not ask for licenses or identification. They do nothing but chat and pass the time of day with the manteros. They certainly don’t confiscate their illegal stocks and they are often seen leaving the groups of manteros with a handshake or even a ‘high five’.”  Certainly not the actions of a police force that wants to uphold the law by clamping down on illegal immigration and trade!