A police raid on an Elche restaurant over COVID-19 rule-breaking proved to be far from a routine matter, as diners tried to hide from their clutches.
The restaurant owner used delaying tactics by saying officers needed to meet with his lawyer, who arrived two hours later.
The premises at Camp d’Elx attracted a lot of interest over a number of days from local residents.
They noticed a spate of ‘badly-parked’ vehicles outside the building and a few of them looked inside and spotted ‘numerous’ customers.
Elche’s Policia Local got a cluster of complaints from the vigilant residents and paid a visit to the restaurant last Friday afternoon(February 19).
Officers smelt the aroma of cooked food wafting out of the building and noise from people partaking in the illegal feast.
The police knocked on the door for 20 minutes until a person appeared to tell them the restaurant owner would be ‘with them shortly’.
The stand-off continued for a further two hours with no sign of the owner, but then his lawyer arrived at the premises to talk to the officers.
The police then entered the building and were confronted by the restaurant boss who tried to obstruct their search.
Numerous health and safety violations were logged, not of all of which were linked to the coronavirus pandemic.
All this time, the officers wanted to flush out the illegal diners and they stood their ground before they eventually appeared from their hiding place.
17 sanctions were issued against them for breaking COVID-19 safety regulations, and the restaurant owner faces a more substantial docket of infringements, including obstruction.