February Regional News

(This article was originally published in January 2010 and is visible now so that readers can look at what was happening on the Costa Tropical back then.)

Farting About
Some little boys think that it is a good wheeze to inflate frogs, via the anus, using a bicycle pump – amphibians seem to bring out ingenious cruelty in young male kids.

However, in this case, a group of boys decided in inflate one of their own number using the tried-and-trusted, lower-intestinal-inflation inlet, with the result that the volunteer (or not) had to be taken to hospital.

It was over in Jaén that the dastardly compressed-air prank took place – and we’re not talking about a 10-year old, or something, but a 16-year-old lad, who has been hospitalised and is in a serious condition. The surgeons have already had to remove his spleen and some of his intestines, but it doesn’t end there because his liver and one of his kidneys have also been damaged.

Apparently, the gang had been messing about in the mechanical workshop of the father of one of their number, where they had been working on a track bike. Before long they were messing around with a 10-kilo compressor/air hose of the type normally used to inflate lorry tyres.

The inflated one, F.J.A.P. staggered back home, visibly swollen and complaining of pain. His parents hurriedly called an ambulance and he was whisked off to Jaén’s central hospital. There it was found that all his internal organs had been displaced – which is hardly surprising, if you consider that the compressor has the capacity to inflate bloody great lorry tyres!

The parents, who have filed a complaint before the Justice of the Peace, expressed their total incredulity before the facts.

“They say that they were playing around, but I certainly wouldn’t call what has happened ‘a joke,’ although I don’t think that it was maliciously done; i.e., with the intention of killing him,” explained the father of the victim.

I don’t know; we’ve all done some pretty stupid things as a kids, some potentially lethal, but applying an air-hose to somebody’s rectum just about takes the biscuit, wouldn’t you say.

The Registrar’s Residents
The Land Registrar is the ultimate authority, perhaps, as to the ownership of dwellings and real-estate property in general, but even this majestic position can be blown out of the water when a group of youngsters, with a generous interpretation of ‘possession’ decides to squat, and that is what happened in Pedregalejo (Málaga).

It was during the Christmas holidays that the young couple decided to take up residence, so that when the all-powerful Land Registrar and his family returned from family stay-overs, they found that the family had depressingly grown.

The squatters; a 20-year-old Argentinean man and his female partner, of around the same age and of the same nationality, had moved in, changing the front and back-door locks, and fully occupied with enjoying their new acquisition, together with their pet Alsatian dog.

The Registrar immediately opened ‘dialogue’ with one of the squatters, through the firmly closed front door, and during the said conversation expressed his wish for them to bugger off, sharpish, like. Far from agreeing with the Registrar’s urgent proposal, the squatter informed him that if he didn’t bugger off and leave them alone, he just might happen to mention that he had a bit of spare room to a few dozen mates and their girlfriends.

Undeterred, the Registrar whistled up a couple of beefy policemen with a hankering for maiming the Great Unwashed, and before you knew it, the couple were out and having their fingerprints taken as suspects to the offence of breaking and entry.

900 Hams
Question: how much do 900 jamón Serrano hams cost? Answer: two years in prison… if you had stolen them, which is the alleged case of a 59-year old gentleman from Granada. If you are wondering what the euro cost of 900 hams is, then we can tell you that it is the not inconsiderable sum of 25,000 euros!

The theft took place in 2004 when the accused began work at Sociedad Lodesgran as a self-employed worker. The company had sold 900 hams to a business in Lanjarón, handing over the merchandise in exchange for iou’s (post-dated cheques). However, the purchaser explained that he could not meet his financial obligation and both parties agreed that the hams would be returned, which is where the accused steps in, because he was tasked with collecting them.

Instead of taking them to the company stores, he reportedly took them to Granada and deposited them in a different drying store, only to collect them yet again 20 days later, but signed over as belonging to him.
If found guilty, not only will he face a possible 2-year sentence, but will also have to pay compensation to the bona-fide ham owners, equivalent to their worth; i.e., 24,920.45 euros.

A businessman has been acquitted in a trial in which a utilities company (Endesa) accused him of not paying his bills.

The Judge considered that there existed no fraud because the electricity company chose to maintain the power supply, despite the row of bounced cheques for the total value of 261,735 euros.

Basically, the company accused the consumer of swindling them out of 261,735 euros but…according to the Judge it cannot be classified as swindle as the company knowingly continued to allow the man to knock up further indebtedness with them.

S.G.M., who runs a factory that produces plastic in Sevilla, faced a recommendation of 2-years imprisonment by the Public Prosecutor and a private case placed by the electricity company, whose lawyer called for a 3-year prison sentence.

Although the outstanding sum dates back to October 2003, the plastic factory was in such a bad state by 2004 that S.G.M. transferred all the factory machinery into the name of the work staff, which had formed a collective entity.

Demolition or Jail
Builder-cum-developer, Joaquín H.M., has just entered prison to serve a sentence for having built a house illegally in El Chorillo (Albolote)… so it’s not just foreigners that are receiving demolition orders. This 25-year-old man won’t be alone there, because his 47-year-old brother-in-law, Pedro M.B. was sent to prison a month before. Pedro, apart from being a relative of Joaqúin, is the owner of the land and illegal cortijo.

Joaquín is hoping that the Judge will agree to his request for the house not to be demolished (and his being sent the bill for it) whilst he is in prison, but to allow him to pay for it to be done, little by little, because he doesn’t have the money to pay for it all in one go. You see, before becoming a prison inmate, Joaquín was on the dole and to top it all off, still has to pay his mortgage repayments on the 180,000 euros that he borrowed to build his illegal house.

The fact is that neither Pedro nor Joaquín should be in jail, because under Spanish law, if the sentence is less that two years (both of them got six months) it should automatically be a suspended sentence, providing that they do not have a criminal record – which they haven’t.

On March the 26th the said Judge found them both guilty of having committed ‘un delito contra la Ordenación de Territorio,’ for which they were ordered to pay a fine of 1,400 euros each (which they did) and demolish the house within three months, (which they haven’t because there is an appeal in progress.)

The two brother-in-laws applied for building permission for a 20 sq/m ‘apero’ (tool-shed/agricultural storeroom) before the Town Hall of Albolote, which was refused. So, looking around and seeing that the land was surrounded by illegal constructions, they though, “bugger it,” and slapped the cement mixer into overdrive. Wrong!

The local police came along, denounced the building job, and taped the place up. The two brother-in-laws thought, “bugger it,” took the tape down and fired up the mixer again… Wrong!

The affair went before a judge, who told them ‘pull it down and pay a fine’. The lads though, “bugger it,” and ignored the Judge… Wrong! Next thing they knew they were knocking on the provincial prison gates, waiting for somebody to open up and let them in.

Knock, Knock, Woof!
When somebody owes you money, and they don’t want to pay, what do you take along with you on your next visit? A bloody great pit bull… at least, that is what one teenager did. Mind you, under Spanish law, you cannot own one of these growling machines until you come of age; i.e., 18, which wasn’t this person’s case.

The first time the lad went round to his neighbour, who owed him 60 euros, he went without the Canine Convincer, but did not manage to obtain one cent of the outstanding sum. So the next time, he took along Fido the Fillet Maker and a large stick, although it is not certain whether the stick was an additional debt-cashing element, or a means of maintaining his ‘employee’ from chomping in the wrong direction…

So there they were at the doorstep, the dog owner encouraging the dog to ‘help himself to a snack,’ the dog, drowning in saliva and growling in a non-politically-correct manner and the debtor screaming in fear whilst considerably increasing methane pollution and balancing precariously on the roof of a parked car.

Finally, the lad’s stick broke, thanks to his bashing it against a wall repeatedly, and the dog got bored with the whole thing because his dinner wouldn’t come down from the car roof… He never got his money, by the way, and what’s more, will probably have to pay a fine, thanks to being denounced by the victim and brought before a magistrate.

Bad Sales Pitch
Another teenager made the terrible mistake of trying to sell hashish to two plainclothes policemen – not recommended. The two parties were destined to meet, as the adolescent was bent upon making some nifty cash selling hashish, and the two National Policemen had been tasked with tracking down small-time drug pushers in the centre of Granada.

Fortunately for the minor, when he was rumbled he had very little merchandise on him; in fact, the street value of his wares was only 15 euros – hardly the capital to set up a narco-ranch in Colombia, right?

The tragedy behind this is that the lad is now over eighteen (slow wheels of justice, as always) and is living rough, sleeping on the streets. He had been living at a refugee for immigrant minors who arrive in boats from North Africa, but upon reaching 18, he had to leave the refuge. So, the light sentence handed down (18 months’ parole) is hardly going to make a difference to his immediate prospects.

Wet Winter
You hardly need reminding, but just in case you didn’t notice, December 2009 was the wettest December in 60 years. In just twelve days there was 238 litres per sq/m on average. As you also know, January started off just as wet and only decided that enough was enough around mid month.

But despite land slips and flooding in places, it’s been a good 15 days of soak-in rain. The 2007 autumn flooding, however, was caused by the brief but violent rainfall, which just bounced off the ground rather than soaking into it, before sweeping through Almuñécar.

A Judge has withdrawn the custody of a dog from its owner for cruelty! My God, it wasn’t that long ago that they were throwing live goats from bell towers as the high point in village fiestas!

Two years ago a resident from the northern district of Granada was the first dog owner to get fined for cruelty, after kicking it systematically. This was a tremendous breakthrough, especially when the law concerning the treatment of domestic animals is not that clear at the best of times. However, a Judge with a heart and a mission decided to interpret the law in such a way that the nasty bastard in question got a 720-euro fine.

Two years later, the same dog owner unwittingly reached another milestone in Spanish legal history when a magistrate confiscated the dog; i.e. withdrew the man’s legal custody of the animal. The more cynical amongst us (Me! Me!) would make the comment, “Yeah great, so the animal was taken away and put down,” but that is not the case, because the magistrate awarded custody of the animal to an animal protection group in Granada.

The animal protection group had reported P.A.G. for the second time on the 8th of November last year; a member of the public had witness a brutal kicking by the said dog owner. This person had approached the aggressor, reproaching him, and telling him to desist, which was ignored. This was when the woman, decided to phone the police.

When the police turned up the owner explained that he was kicking the shit out of the small dog because it would not do as it was told, and by kicking it, it made him feel better.

As luck would have it, Mr. P.A.G. went before the same magistrate as before, who was positively gleeful to be reunited with the dog owner. The accused showed no repentance for his behaviour, so he was fined 720 euros again and had the dog taken off him.

I would like to report that the magistrate, court clerk and cleaning lady took the man into the judges’ office and kicked the hell out of him too, because it made them feel better, but that was not the case… unfortunately.

Economy and Noise
One of the less predictable outcomes of money being tight is a rise in complaints about noisy neighbours… people stay at home and have a party with friends, because they can’t afford to go out and buy across the bar. So acute has this become that more neighbours are being denounced for making more noise than bars!

During 2009, the authorities in the city of Granada received 254 complaints about noisy bars, whilst in the same time period they received 278 complaints about noisy neighbours.

There have been complaints about the noise caused by dentists’ compressors for their drills, about rattling air-conditioning units, restaurant smoke extractors and insomniacs who rearrange their furniture at four in the morning. But it’s not always the noise that neighbours make that annoys those next door, because smelly barbeques are often cited.

Down the Drain…
…Or better said, down the river. Rules dam has been discarding millions of litres of water during the rains. We took a drive up there to get some nifty photographs, one of which was a nozzle that was ejecting an incredible 14,853 cubic metres of water… every second!That’s a mind blowing amount. To give you an idea, we have a modest water tank next to our cortijo that holds 50 cubic metres. It costs 100 euros for a water-bowser to bring up 10 cubic metres, thus to fill the tank it needs five loads, costing 500 euros – it also takes most of the day, with the lorry having to make its way down to the coast and back. Now, getting back to the waterspout at the dam, it would take approximately a 300th part of just one second to fill my tank!

Anyway, why are they letting so much water go down river? For two reasons, one of which is that there is no pipe network to take the accumulated water anywhere – which is as good a reason as any, the other reason is that to fill a dam for the first time, it has to be filled up in stages and at each stage that level of water is held for a given time – weeks, to check for signs of weakness, before proceeding to the next mark.

On the 15th of January, the dam was holding back 88.72 hectometres of water, which means that the reservoir was virtually full, as the maximum water that can be safely stored is 110.59 hectometres. In other words, it was 80.5% full. The water has reached the 233 mark, which is the penultimate test, before the water reaches it maximum height of 243. This means that there are only another 10 metres to go and the next stop will be five metres from the top.

A Whiskey and Coke
If you’ve ever been out on the town in Granada, the chances are that you have done the Pedro Antonio de Alarcón circuit. It is a parallel street to El Camino de Ronda and is stuffed with student bars… OK, I’ll admit it; it’s been a while since I was young enough to be inconspicuous in a student bar, but that’s another story… and talking of stories, this one is about one of those bars down Pedro’s way.

One of the freebies on the bar, where you would normally find the peanuts, was a small dish of cocaine – very originally and decidedly generous. I mean, coke doesn’t cost exactly peanuts, does it!

The owner of the pub, 26-year-old M.S.R.H., from Morocco, was just about to open the bar, when in barged the drugs squad. Unfortunately for M.S.R.H (a.k.a. My Sh** Rates Highly) the sample plates were allegedly ready and waiting on the bar top. Further inspection found 200 grams of coke as top ups, six balls of hashish and 4,635 euros in cash that – at a wild guess – the Hacienda had no knowledge of.

Mysterious Virus
Hands up who had a mysterious attack of the dreaded squirts around the beginning of last month? You did, and it only lasted 24 hours? Well, you’re not alone because 25% of the cases of people in the province reporting to their doctors during two weeks were the result of this virus.

For a few people, it lasted 48 hours and also involved vomiting, but the majority just had a breach at one end of the body and woke up the next day with normal bodily functions.

(News: Granada, Andalucia)

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