|'REPORT: Living on contraband'|
SPAIN / GIBRALTAR Telecinco, the Spanish TV station, broadcast a report yesterday on La Línea's financial mess and tobaco smuggling across the Gibraltar frontier. This comes a week after another channel, Antena-3 emmitted a similar report on their Espejo Público (Public Mirror) programme, which called the situation a 'hot frontier'. A reporter from El programa de Ana Rosa ('Ana Rosa's Programme', presented by frequent-Sotogrande-visitor Ana Rosa Quintana) came to the area in February, doing a lot of vox pop reporting and eliciting responses mainly centred on the fact that the are no jobs in the area and tobacco smuggling is a way of subsisting for 'thousands of people', according to one interviewee - which has been made a great deal more difficult since the new 4-pack law came into effect at the beginning of the year.>>>
The Telecinco item also looked into the large number of confiscated 'vehicles' resulting from smugglers being caught at the border or elsewhere: these are mainly bicycles, small motorbikes and scooters, recovery of which, including fines, is not worth the trouble.
There was a debate at the end of the programme which showed substantial indignation against a law that severely limits the amount of tobacco allowed through the border to only 4 packs for people living within a 15 kilometre zone.
The reason given for the law is that local tobacconists have lost a very large proportion of their business because of the availability of cheaper smokes from across the border.
Needless to say, the social networks were soon steaming with comments, one of which, from Gibraltar, stands out: "If Spain hadn't abandoned La Línea, there would be no need for smuggling," which elicited numerous responses, most of which we would blush to reproduce here.