By Helen Pierpoint

EVERY day the beaches of the Costa del Sol are swamped with illegal street vendors selling their wares for a pittance.

Dubbed ‘looky looky’ men, their efforts to avoid the long arm of the law can often resemble scenes from Laurel and Hardy.

But behind the armfuls of ‘designer’ gear is a story often tinged with sadness – and many of these men have suffered appalling hardships and poverty.

It’s no surprise that they have had several run-ins with the police which sometimes end violently.

Although this aggression can not be justified, the fact the hawkers must resort to their fists reveals something about the desperation of their situation.

Let’s hope the sympathy and acceptance offered by most expats offers them some hope of a stable future here.

See our feature on ‘looky looky’ men here

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