Tourists trying to reserve beach spots in Spain have towels confiscated

Police on the Costa del Sol have got so fed up with sunbathers reserving spaces on the beach and disappearing ‘for hours’ that they have started confiscating their belongings.

Officials in Torrox, a British tourist hotspot near Marbella in Andalucia, issued a warning after noticing tourists and sun worshippers were leaving their belongings on the beach during peak times – despite being nowhere to be seen. Many arrive early and reserve their spot with sun loungers, lilos, towels and even an inflatable boat on the best spots on the shore before going home to take a ‘siesta’.

Space is yet more limited on beaches in Spain due to Covid-19 social distancing restrictions and visitors have been complaining that they are often being turned away. Torrox Council cautioned that local police won’t hesitate to confiscate irresponsible sunbathers’ belongings and fine them if they disappear for hours.

The council shared a series of images on Facebook showing police removing empty sun loungers and writing tickets, making way for sunbathers who are actually using the beach. Sunbathers who have their belongings confiscated will have to pay a fine to get their belongings back.

The council wrote: ‘May we remind all those using our beaches that reserving a space is not permitted.

‘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.

‘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.’

Officials added that those who leave their belongings to go eat at a beach bar, go for a walk or remain nearby will not be fined.

The council said: ‘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’.

The warning comes days after English travellers were given the green light to travel to Spain without having to quarantine on return.

But from tomorrow, it will become compulsory for tourists and locals to wear face coverings on the beaches of Andalucia, including those on the Costa del Sol.

Officials in Andalucia said everyone must comply with the rules or face a fine of up to £90.

Officials said everyone must wear a face covering while walking along the beach, but will be permitted to remove them to go swimming or while sunbathing with people in their bubble.

The Balearic Islands – including the popular destinations of Mallorca and Ibiza – brought in stricter rules around face coverings on Monday. However, officials exempted beaches from the areas where they must be worn.

Catalonia, including the capital Barcelona, and Extremadura are among the other regions of Spain that have made the use of face coverings compulsory virtually everywhere in public, including outdoors.

Previously they only had to be worn outdoors in public where social distancing could not be guaranteed but rules have been tightened in recent weeks following a rise in cases.

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