Popular rock band Kolted were devastated this week when the band’s van was broken into and a number of valuable instruments stolen. At the time of the robbery, the band were playing a regular live gig in the Flamenca Beach Commercial Centre in Playa Flamenca. A spokesperson for the band told the Costa Blanca People, “They must have known what they were looking for – the windows of the van were smashed and they took very specific instruments. We were playing a gig at the time, so it is clear they knew that the van would be unattended.”
The incident occurred on Thursday night and the band are appealing for eyewitnesses who may have been in the vicinity of Playa Flamenca between the hours of 10pm and 1.30am when they believe the robbery took place.
The instruments stolen included a valuable Limited Edition Gibson Les Paul guitar (in pine with KOLTED printed on the front), a Sigma semi acoustic guitar and an Ibanez Special Edition bass guitar.
The police are looking into the robbery and fans of the band have been frantically sharing an appeal on social media in a bid to have the instruments returned. It is hoped that the distinctive nature of the instruments will prevent their resale on the black market but these hardworking local musicians just want their guitars returned.
The robbery comes as a huge blow as the band has just released its official music video for new single, Times Two.
If anyone has information about the robbery or the whereabouts of the stolen instruments, please contact the band on + 34 603 386 402.
A 66 year old Russian cyclist lost his life in a fatal hit and run which took place in Torrevieja on Tuesday last. The incident took place shortly before 4pm just before the northbound exit for the ‘Park of Nations’. The car allegedly involved in the incident was driven by a 33 year old British man.
Medical crews arrived at the scene but were unable to do anything to save the man’s life, having been thrown several metres by the impact of the car, his injuries are thought to have proved fatal. An autopsy will be carried out to determine the cause of death.
The driver later handed himself in at Rojales police station. His car is believed to have evidence of damage to the front window.
The incident occurred in a notorious black spot for accidents and congestion with a large volume of traffic throughout the year and especially in July when huge tailbacks are often witnessed. Overtaking is not allowed with a continuous double line indicating so, which runs for eight kilometres along the stretch of road. The fatal accident took place a few meters from a section considered a ‘black point’ due to the frequency of serious accidents by the Ministry of Public Works.
The Mayor of Torrevieja, Eduado Dolón, has announced the commencement of a big cleanup operation which is being rolled out across the town this week. The plan sees 23 new workers hired and special equipment acquired to undertake the cleaning works, with a budget of €117,000.
The move comes as a response to citizen complaints about the lack of urban cleansing, claims Councillor for Sanitation, Parks and Gardens, Carmen Gómez Candel. The cleanup operation began on July 3rd and will continue until around the end of August.
As part of the plan, roads and pavements will be cleansed, weeds removed and weedkiller sprayed. Bins will be washed and fly tipping spots will be cleaned up. 30 glass recycling bins will be replaced.
The areas to be cleaned will be as follows…
1st AREA: El Chaparral, La Siesta and San Luis.
2nd AREA: El Limonar, El Salado and Altos del Limonar.
3rd AREA: Torreta III, Torreta II and Torreta-Florida.
4th AREA: Lago Jardin, Los Balcones, Los Altos, La Veleta, Mar Azul and Punta Prima.
5th AREA: Aguas Nuevas, Calas Blancas, Torreblanca, Los Frutales and Villasol.
The Mayor also annoucnesd that while the cleanup plan is being rolled out through the above urbanisations, work is also being undertaken to clean the city centre.
Councillor Gómez also referred to the problem of abandoned cars and was keen to remind readers that there is a citizens phone number which residents can phone to report abandoned vehicles: 966 70 23 90 (Spanish).
Founder of the N332 Facebook page, Francisco Morales, was honoured guest at a party in the British Embassy in Madrid. Guardia Civil traffic officer Morales was among guests invited to the Embassy to celebrate the Queen’s birthday. Francisco told the Costa Blanca People, “We were invited in recognition of the service we provide to the British Community.”
The N332 Facebook page and related website, N332.es, provides information on driving in Spain to help foreigners stay safe on the roads. With many rules and regulations different to those of our home nations, the information provided by the N332 group has proved useful to many road users here – including the 128,000 people that follow the page on Facebook.
At the party, both the British Ambassador, Simon Manley and the Congressional spokesperson for Ciudadanos, Inés Arrimadas, commended the N332 project and the recognition that it has now achieved by the DGT, Spain’s transport authority.
This is the debate currently being voiced between the Ministry of the Interior and the Guardia Civil themselves. The intention was announced a few months ago by the government to regulate more closely the appearance of the Guardia Civil officers, including their tattoos.
Currently the rules state that tattoos are acceptable but must not contravene constitutional values. They must not express discriminatory views or images and should not reflect a specific political opinion. However, a few months ago it was proposed that tattoos shouldn’t be allowed at all.
Since then a new draft decree amends this original prohibitive proposal and would allow those who are already Guardia Civil officers to retain their tattoos and would not require them to cover them up. However, the application of the new ruling would also be down to the head of the individual unit and this could cause internal difficulties within the force.
Traditionally, the prohibition of tattoos only applied to those joining the police force. Once they were accepted, trained and on duty then they were allowed to have them done. In some cases it could be that the head of the unit would require the officers to cover them up but now many officers on the beat are in opposition to the idea that this is no longer down to individual judgement but would be a ruling.
It is also quite difficult to cover up some tattoos, depending on their location. Those on the neck or hands are particularly difficult to disguise by using makeup and the use of bandages to cover them would look worse than the tattoos themselves.
The new draft is also causing concern because of the suggestion that those officers who already have a tattoo should have them photographed and registered in order to check that they do not have any more. However, many officers feel that this is an unacceptable intrusion and treats them like cattle. It is planned that officers would have three months in which to declare their tattoo and that following this, if they have another one then they could be investigated and charged.
It is not only tattoos that are included in the draft regulations. There are plans to include regulations about hair styles, beards and moustaches. For many members of the Guardia civil it isn’t their appearance that should be in the spotlight but the shortage of police officers and the difficulties with recruitment.
A second heatwave is due to hit the Alicante province, driving temperatures up to 40 degrees. The mercury hit 36 in Alicante on Sunday with temperatures in Rojales reaching 34 – although with the humidity factor the ‘real feel’ was higher still. Monday saw some reprieve from the severe heat with a slight drop in temperatures and for the most part of this coming week, the heat should be typical for July. However, a second heatwave is due to descend on Friday.
Director of the Climatology Lab at Alicante University, Jorge Olcina warned that the second heatwave, due to manifest on Friday July 5th, will affect the entire Alicante province and temperatures throughout the weekend will be exceptionally high. So, until Thursday, maximum temperatures predicted for the Alicante province are 29 degrees on the coast and 31 inland. On Friday however, these figures will shoot up to 35 degrees in seaside towns and as high as 39 inland. Moreover, according to the Climatology Lab’s weather models, we can expect temperatures of 42 degrees in places of the Vega Baja.
Experts say that the second heatwave will not last as long as the one we have just experienced, but the heat will be “especially intense”. According to Sr. Olcina a wave of Saharan air will blow across the peninsula and bringa very warm, dry air mass from Africa over to Alicante and Murcia.
Olcina also warned that these bursts of heat will cause the area to become very hot over the coming weeks so another risk factor to consider are torrential rains – not necessarily immediately, but in the long term.
Murica man one of several heat related deaths
Two people have already died from heatstroke in Spain and two more have been hospitalised.
Locally, a 45-year-old farmer was admitted in a serious condition with heatstroke symptoms in the intensive care unit of a hospital in Murcia, and a fire fighter from the Catalan Fire Department has also been taken to hospital after suffering from heatstroke while fighting the wildfire in La Ribera d’Ebre in Tarragona.
A 17-year-old man died in the early hours of Friday morning in a hospital in Córdoba after being admitted for heatstroke, according to the regional health department. The man was working outside when he began to feel dizzy. He jumped into the pool on the rural property to cool down but when he got out he began to suffer convulsions. The 17-year-old was taken to the Reina Sofía Hospital in Córdoba and died after CPR failed to revive him.
Meanwhile, on Thursday, an 80-year-old man died from a possible case of heatstroke in Valladolid. The elderly man died a little before 5.50pm at a street intersection in the city. Emergency services rushed to the spot but when they arrived there was little they could do as the man had already passed away.
We’re into the summer season and last minute plans are being made to do something about the wooden walkway along La Mata beach front. Work has begun to repair this section of the beach promenade which has been closed to the public. Now, the town council has received authorisation from the Costa’s provincial service to remove the iron railing that separates the walkway from the beach.
A new railing will not be installed. Instead other means will be used of marking out the pedestrian zone from the beach itself. The current mayor of the town, Eduardo Dolón was quick to blame the previous four years of government for the poor state of the planks on the paseo and the need to close it to the public.
Of course, it should be remembered that the gradual deteriorationof the walkway did not just happen in the last four years. For many years there has been a patching up process when what was really needed was for the whole structure to be replaced. A variety of political hurdles, including the difficulties of negotiating with provincial authorities, has held up restoration work.
The closure of this promenade has not only affected those that use it to get from A to B but also the ten catering establishments that operate along it and the kiosks on the beach. La Mata beach lost the blue flag accreditation that it has usually been given and this has been cited as the main reason. What is most important now is that something is done to enable the paseo to be used again.
On Monday 24th June it was the San Luis/ La Siesta neighbourhood watch meeting held at Casa Ventura. Once more there was a good turnout for the meeting which was the last before the summer break. The agenda included an update on criminal activity in the area as well as information about police arrests.
The charity Help At Home and Clinica Siesta gave presentations to the group, letting them know about the services they offer and how people can access them. At every meeting, there are opportunities not only to share concerns, ask questions and raise points for discussion but also to receive information about local support groups and services such as these.
Also on the agenda were the recent local council elections. The group were informed of councillor appointments in the newly elected council. Councillor Carmen Morate and the previous director of the Foreigners Office, Carlos Gonzales, had been previously attending meetings and providing updates on a number of different subjects of interest and importance to the English-speaking community. The hope was expressed that this previous good relationship would continue with the new council, ensuring good communication and support for the community.
Following the change of local government Carlos and Carmen are no longer responsible for the foreigners’ office. They are both on the local council but in opposition rather than part of the government team. It had been hoped that representatives from the new Foreigners’ Office team might have been present to reassure local residents and inform them of their availability and plans for the future.
After the summer break it is planned that there will be a visit from Consular representatives from Alicante who will be able to give more up to date information about Brexit and what British nationals living in Spain can expect. The San Luis/ La Siesta NHW Facebook page will continue over the summer and members can continue to receive email support. The next meeting is on 30th September at Casa Ventura at 4.30pm.
Following claims that permission had been withdrawn for the use of the Eras de la Sal venue for the forthcoming Jacksons concert in Torrevieja, the promoter has now revealed that the concert will be going ahead as planned. John Khan of Heatwave Promotions told the Costa Blanca People, “The concert is 100 percent going ahead at the original venue, Eras de la Sal, on August 9th.”
Commenting on the claims made that the concert would be cancelled, John said “The issue was firstly that we had permission to use the venue – this was granted on March 14th. We then have to wait for a period of time to put in place the correct paperwork and on the day of the concert, the final inspection takes place and we are issued with the final licence. This is the way we have done it for the last ten years without ever having any problem. The Councillor, Fanny Serrano, announced that she was cancelling our use of the venue because we had started advertising without the permission in place and that we did not have initial permission which was not at all the case. She announced this claim two weeks before notifying us which I believe should have been her first action – some sort of official notification to withdraw our permission. In any case, we appealed against her claim and had permission reinstated again on June 21st. As is usually the case – even in concerts featuring megastars, tickets are sold with the small print ‘subject to licence’ as the authorities often inspect the venue the same day in order to issue final paperwork.”
In response to claims that the concert could have been cancelled, John was keen to clarify matters, saying “I want to be clear that the concert was never cancelled and we had contingency plans in place to move the venue to Alicante or the Murcia Bull Ring if necessary. Had we needed to do this, existing ticket holders would have been offered free transport to and from the new venue. Thankfully though, we did not need to go down that road.”
John continued, “We are a responsible promoter and have, for over ten years, always had the interests of our clients first and foremost.”
So, with the good news that the venue remains in place as the beautiful open air theatre, Eras de la Sal in Torrevieja, fans will be glad to know that there are some tickets still remaining to see the legendary Jacksons in concert. Tickets are being sold via ticketmaster, El Corte Inglés, all Correos (post office) outlets and also via the promoter’s own website www.heatwavepromotions.com and the ticket hotline numbers 0034629056720/0034663385757.
The Mayor of Orihuela, Emilio Bascuñana, has participated in the official raising of the Blue Flags and the Q Quality Flags on the beaches of Orihuela.
“This year we have retained the 11 Blue Flags and the 5 Quality Q Flags that we achieved in 2018. These awards raise the prestige of our beaches and speak for themselves. We have to continue taking care of our beaches, promoting tourism and putting Orihuela in the national and international spotlight, “said Mayor Bascuñana.
At the event, which took place at the Playa La Glea in Campoamor, the Mayor was accompanied by Rafael Almagro and Sabina-Goretti Galindo, from the Government team and by local councillors Luisa Boné and Ángel Noguera. The parish head of Campoamor, Raúl Fernández was also present.
Orihuela has once again obtained the eleven Blue Flags on all its beaches and the Nautical Club Dehesa de Campoamor has achieved an additional flags. The beaches are: Punta Prima, Cala Bosque, La Caleta, Cala Capitán, Aguamarina, Campoamor, Rubio Ravine, Cala Estaca, Cala Mosca, Cala Cerrada and Mil Palmeras.
Emilio Bascuñana explained that: “Orihuela is the municipality of the Valencian Community with the largest number of Blue Flags, and the second in Spain, something that demonstrates the clear commitment of our city to the coast. The city heritage and the beautiful beaches makes our municipality most attractive to tourists.”
The Blue Flag is an annual award and a system of environmental quality certification developed by FEE (Foundation for Environmental Education). It promotes and rewards participation in voluntary environmental initiatives by municipal authorities, the local and visitor population and agents of the tourism sector. The organisation takes into account several criteria including: quality of bathing water, information and environmental education, environmental management and security, services and facilities.
In order for a beach or a marina to achieve a Q Flag it must carry out an audit that analyz¡ses the equipment for public use, the cleaning services and the collection of waste, the safety, rescue and first aid facilities, information services for tourists, access to bathing, hygiene services and leisure establishments.
Thousands of date palms have been burnt in UNESCO World Heritage orchards in Elche. Thousands of palm trees were scorched in four separate orchards during the early hours of Saturday morning, according to Alicante’s Provincial Consortium of Fire fighters.
The first fire was reported around 0.50am, in a palm orchard in La Hoya. Later, at around 2.25am, there was a second fire in palm orchard near Algorós. Minutes later, another garden had started to burn, this time next to the CV-856 at the 1km mark. Finally, at 6 o’clock in the morning, a fourth fire was reported next to the CV-851 at the 2km mark.
A total of 25 fire fighters from the Provincial Consortium arrived from Elche, Crevillent, San Vicente and Almoradí to put out the blaze, alongside a six-strong unit of forest fire fighters.
The Palmeral of Elche has close to 200,000 date palm trees, covering 3.5 sq km. It is the only palm grove in Europe, and palmeros still honour agricultural traditions passed down from the Moorish civilisation.
Initial signs reportedly indicate the fires were intentional. The Local Police of Elche, together with the Fire Department and the National Police have announced that an investigation has been opened to clarify the causes.
The police in Torrevieja have already arrested 11 people for crimes committed involving property and belongings in the town this season. In two weeks they have investigated 17 crimes and ten of the eleven people arrested have been kept in prison following a hearing in court.
‘With the start of the tourist season, the number of people in the area increases considerably,’ explained the chief of the Alicante police. ‘We consequently see an increase in the number of crimes such as robberies, breaking and entry into premises, vehicles and theft from people on the streets.’
The first arrest was made of a Bosnian woman who was detained after a robbery. She was living in a motor home having stolen the vehicle in France, falsified documents and changed the number plate. The second case involved two Chilean men who had robbed a property in San Miguel. They tried to avoid arrest with a high speed getaway through the streets of Torrevieja. Once captured they also resisted arrest and attacked the arresting officers.
The most serious crime was a violent robbery and intimidation in an establishment near to the main paseo in the town by a Senegalese man. An arrest has also taken place of a carer looking after an elderly woman. It is alleged that the carer withdrew €5,300 using credit cards from the elderly woman’s account and sold her jewellery. The crime was reported by the victim herself and a woman of 46 years old of Spanish nationality has been arrested.