Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Thousands of expats in these areas who live in Spain but drive UK-plated cars not registered on the national police computer also face new controls

Speeding British drivers are facing a crackdown on the Spanish Costas to ensure they pay their fines before they return home from their holidays.
Traffic chiefs tired of binning penalty notices they know will never be paid have devised a new system to fine them on the spot.
Fixed cameras have been fitted with high-tech devices which alert the nearest police car immediately when foreign drivers are speeding to give them the chance to chase them down.
The satellite-controlled devices distinguish Spanish-plated cars from vehicles with foreign number plates.Pictures and details of Spanish cars caught speeding on the cameras are sent instantaneously to a traffic control centre near Madrid which sends out fines by post.
But photos of foreign-plated vehicles are sent by coded Wi-Fi to the laptop of the nearest police patrol car as well as the traffic HQ.
The ingenious scheme gives officers the opportunity to chase down offenders who live outside of Spain - and immobilise their vehicle unless they pay fines of up to £500 there and then.
The devices have been fitted on existing speed cameras in four locations where holidaymakers account for up to half of the speeding drivers.
Two of the cameras are on motorways in the provinces of Alicante and Murcia, both popular with British tourists.
Thousands of expats in these areas who live in Spain but drive UK-plated cars not registered on the national police computer also face new controls under the system.
The extension of the system to other areas favopured by the British like the Costa del Sol has not been ruled out.
A spokesman for the Direccion General de Trafico, Spain's equivalent of the DVLA, said: 'Up to half the speeding motorists in some of the areas where this new system is operating drive foreign-plated vehicles.
'Excess speed is a contributing factor in a third of all fatal accidents so lives may be saved with these new measures.
'This is not a witchhunt against British or foreign drivers. Nor are we targeting specific nationalities.'
'Negotiations are taking place at EU level to try to introduce a system whereby people who drink-drive or speed are punished wherever in Europe they commit their offence.
'But at the moment, except in rare circumstances, non-residents caught speeding on fixed speed cameras never receive their fines because we've nowhere to send them.
'It's a problem across the EU, not just in Spain.'
Tailgating motorists and those whose cars have cracked or broken number plates are also identified through the newly-adopted scheme.
Fines range from 100 euros (£83) to 600 euros (£500).
Civil Guard traffic officer Ricardo Laoz said: 'If non-resident offenders can't pay the fine, we immobilise their car until the fine is paid although that doesn't preclude an appeal.'
Colleague Samuel Santana added: 'Foreigners pay without any problem once they've seen the photo that's been taken and realise it's them.'

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Saturday, 14 August 2010

Four E.U. Nations Stoke Fears of an Immigrant Flood - TIME

Four E.U. Nations Stoke Fears of an Immigrant Flood - TIME: "Spain two years ago announced that it would grant nationality to foreigners whose Spanish parents or grandparents left the country to flee the civil war and Franco's subsequent dictatorship. Around 225,000 people in Cuba, Central America and South America have already applied for Spanish citizenship under the scheme, and 117,000 have already obtained it."

Illegal cigarette gang sentenced (From The Bolton News)

Illegal cigarette gang sentenced (From The Bolton News): "GANG of men made by Amanda Smith hundreds of thousands of pounds selling illegal cigarettes from laundry bags and suitcases at a Bolton car boot sale.
The four evaded nearly £100,000 in excise duty — and investigators believe they could have made up to £400,000 from their dodgy dealings.
HM Revenue and Customs officers seized 46,980 cigarettes and 51.7 kilos of tobacco after searching the four men and their homes.
They were secretly filmed by officers while selling the cheap products at Lever Street Market between March and July last year.
Yesterday the four men — Omar Mohammed Omar, Enver Batkitar, Shawkat Sidiq, and Sabah Abdul Majid — were given suspended prison sentences when they appeared at Manchester Crown Court."


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