IT looked like a typical British day at the seaside with men paddling gingerly in the water, their trousers rolled up to their knees.
But this was no ordinary beach knees up… it was the day after a terrible storm left thousands of packets of hashish floating onto the shore on the Costa de la Luz.
Soon the message was out via social media and men, women and even families arrived from as far afield as Sevilla and Malaga to fish the packets out of the water.
Billed as ‘free hash for all’, the so-called ‘busquimanos’ (beachcombers) arrived by mid morning to scoop up an estimated 2,000 kilos of hashish.
The haul ended up in the water after strong winds (on November 28; the day of the Malaga tornado) capsized three smuggler boats in heavy waves en route to Spain from Morocco.
As well as leading to two deaths and the arrest of over a dozen smugglers, police confirmed the arrests of over 70 people for possession of the drugs fished out of the sea.
“It has been a crazy week,” said a spokesperson for the Guardia Civil. “It was like catching flies, they were everywhere.
“There were some ridiculous situations. Like a boy pretending to fish with a fishing rod with no bait on it and two bundles of hash hidden under his bucket. Who was he trying to fool?”
He continued: “This is collective madness and these kids should stop acting like idiots. I hope everyone will now learn a lesson.”
The unprecedented number of beachcombers are now facing lengthy prison sentences, according to Cadiz drugs prosecutor, Ana Villagomez.
“This is unheard of,” said Villagomez. “There is no precedent for it, but it is a serious crime, and they are looking at anything from one to four-and-a-half years.
“It is the same as anyone who has been caught with a large quantity of drugs.”