MARBELLA made the front pages in the UK once again last month when The Guardian, not known for salacious reporting, ran a 10,000-word feature entitled A united Nations of Crime. How Marbella became a magnet for gangsters.
What followed was the standard ‘Costa del Crime’ 101 article. All the usual tropes about tattooed gangsters crashing Rolls Royces and walking away, North African ‘foot soldiers’ having stand-offs with UK criminals outside luxury boutiques and the fire that destroyed the Sisu Hotel last summer.
The official initial inquiry on the cause of the blaze has been released and concluded that the fire, which started in three different locations inside the building, was deliberate.
They might as well have made the equally Earth shattering deduction that night follows day, but at least it ruled out my ‘errant seagull casually tossing away a cigarette mid-flight’ theory, that I tend to refer to when Marbella traditionally marks the weeks before the start of the season by burning down a few thatched beach clubs.
The article also featured a variety of unnamed sources – from underworld figures dishing the dirt, to worried residents who claimed they did not leave their valuables in their homes, to the nightclub public relations girl who claimed that there was a ‘no fat people’ policy in Marbella clubs. Which must have come as quite a surprise to many of the Saudi princes who are regularly seen waddling from their superyachts to their chauffeur driven limos to be whisked to the luxury spot of their choice.
Of course, it would be foolish to say that there is no crime in Marbella. I have lived here since the 80s when the original London firms enjoyed their pre/extradition treaty Eden in the sun.
But as in most cities, if you look for criminality you will find it (County Lines, anyone?). The majority of residents know which bits of Marbella are, ahem ‘colourful’, and stay away from them.
And if the journalists had dug a little deeper, they might have discovered that, as I always say and with due respect to the noble borough – where I had a knife pulled on me in a mugging…
“It’s better than Brixton”