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The English Square early evening
Two weeks ago, on Monday 30th July there was an extremely controversial article printed about Benidorm in The Sun newspaper under the heading "Benidoom! Once a fave with with Brits, now on it´s knees". I was very vocal in defense as it was totally inaccurate, giving a very misleading impression of the resort. When someone writes something they should research throughly and make sure all the facts are correct - that article used incorrect photographs to depict places and the double page spread was based on talking to 12 people!

The epicentre of the yearly Fancy Dress in November
Yesterday another British newspaper, "The Mirror" printed a story under the headlines "Holiday drugs shame: British dealers peddling class A´s just yards from families in Benidorm". Am I going to berate and criticize like I did before? Quite frankly NO... because it is true - up to a point! The difference between this article by Nick Owens and Grahame Culliford´s Sun piece is that there was obviously a lot of investigating and research done before putting pen to paper. When someone writes false and unfounded things about Benidorm I will be one of the first to speak in support and defend, backing up my argument with facts. But equally so, all is not perfect here and I do not pretend it is.

In the square with ITV´s Steve Hargrave filming last summer
The article talks about the problem of drugs and how easy it is to obtain the likes of ecstasy, speed, coke etc for the price of a pint in the UK. However, this phenomenon is confined to a very small area - namely called "The English Square" and every resort and British city has theres! The Square is in fact only one street which is full of clubs that are frequented by the Brits, over for a good drinks fueled holiday. It is a favorite for Stag and Hens parties and groups of young Brits determined to drink themselves into oblivion with the cheap booze on offer. All day offers of 2 for 1 and Happy Hour add to the mayhem as these youngsters, often on their first holiday without parents suddenly have no boundaries and no concept of what is acceptable behavior. Another recent article lambasted similar behavior in Ibiza... Aya Napa in Cyprus, Magaluf on Majorca, Mykonos in Greece.... the list is endless of similar such resorts offering extreme nightlife fueled with cheap booze and drugs.
Calle Gerona - round the corner but no drug issues here

Its strange, or maybe not that the majority of those out of control are young Brits... I very rarely hear or see other nationalities mentioned, either here in Benidorm or other resorts. But for those that are thinking of heading to Benidorm DO NOT be frightened into thinking that its a drug peddling capital... it most definitely isn´t - it is confined to a very small area, not that that makes it any more acceptable in my mind. The vast majority of those offering drugs are young British men targeting mainly groups of youths that look like they´ve had a few drinks. If you say no they leave you alone but it won´t be long before you are approached again by another. They see groups as easier prey as they tend to egg each other on to have a go. The police are certainly aware of the situation and are in the middle of a crackdown on drug dealing across the resort - this comes under the jurisdiction of the National Police not the Policia Local. However, it appears that the police seem to target easy prey... the motorist, as there is always a result ie an on the spot fine! With the dealers there is no revenue but a lot paperwork...

Pretty cobbled streets of the Old Town
Although those on the streets offering the drugs are Brits, police suspect that they are mainly operated by Spanish and East European gangs... which is where they need to target their investigations to eradicate the problem. Those peddling around the clubs do not keep the drugs or weed on themselves but go and collect from where ever they keep their supplies, making it difficult for the police to arrest as they have so little on them to be classified as a drug pusher. My advice to parents who´s children are coming here is talk to them and warn them to stay away, reiterating the dangers and repercussions.

Busy Old Town area
Walk one street away from The Square, down the Calle Gerona for instance and you won´t see anything like what you can witness there. All you will see there are bars full of Brits enjoying the cheap booze... some a bit too much and slightly worse for wear. There is very rarely any trouble outside of the Square area and that is mainly confined to the early hours of the morning. It is not an area I would recommend, and certainly not for families. There are so many beautiful places to visit... the Old Town for instance. You never ever here of any trouble there despite there being as many bars as in the Rincon end. Here you will not find any loud nightclubs  but lots of small independent bars, restaurants and the famous Tapas Alley along the cobbled streets... a million miles away from the new town. This is the real traditional Spain that I love along with the thousands that both live and visit here.

Having said all that, I have just asked my 19 year daughter who use to be a regular Square visitor... she is now back in the UK at Uni. She told me that back there, it is easy to obtain drugs - more so than she ever personally experienced here in Benidorm. You are only a phone call away from obtaining literally anything she said -"the city where its easier to obtain first class drugs than a first class degree". During the years of going to the Square she was never offered anything ... but then that was over 2 years ago - obviously things have changed since then

Comments  

0 #2 millernel74 2013-11-08 12:02
Spain is an old culture, full of raw passion, tragedy, love and a fascination with the macabre. It takes some time to get used to the intimate nature of the people. They are a nation of huggers and kissers. In North American culture where a handshake is normal to greet people, here in Spain it is a hug and a kiss on both cheeks. This is standard for men and women.Spain is the finest holiday destination for all group of age,there are many places like Costa Maresme,Ibiza and Mallorca (Majorca),where you can enjoy luxurious villa's life with long beaches and also late night parties.
blanes villas
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0 #1 thisisspain 2012-08-13 10:41
No way am I condoning drugs ANYWHERE on the planet but I think it is absolutely hypocritical of the Mirror to lambaste Benidorm (or Spain for that matter). The same article could have been written about pretty much any English town or city.

It's not as one-sided as #neverbuytheSun but the parable of the speck of dust and plank of wood comes to mind.
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