By Humphrey Carter
LOCAL hoteliers are calling on Palma police to get tough on the so-called gypsy carnation sellers.
Sol, who has run the Hostal Ritzi in Palma for many years, says that this winter many guests, “between 15 and 20,” have fallen victim to the carnation sellers and the police “just don't want to know. “Obviously I don't cater for wealthy guests, most of my clients are young people and young couples on a budget, so for them, having their money and possessions stolen is the end of the world. “I try to warn as many of my guests as possible, but I don't always get to see them all when they arrive and, being young and excited about being in Palma, I guess they fall for the carnation sellers, not knowing that they are being robbed in broad daylight. “Many of our guests are seasoned travellers from all over the world. Friday's victim was a young South African, who if in an under-developed country would obviously take more care when out and about, but here in Palma, where tourism is very important for us all, few people, expect to have to worry about personal security as they visit the sights,” she said. “I'm a mother myself, so I can imagine how the youngsters feel when they realise they've been robbed. “I always contact the police, but they just say there's nothing they can do. “I would understand if they were dealing with the mafia, but it's a gang of gypsy women and always the same faces, why can't they move them on, round them up, keep tham away from tourists. It appears that the carnation sellers are more powerful than the police,” she said. Be they the carnation sellers or the holiday club touts operating around the cathedral and Parc de la Mar, it is not usually until the summer season that tourists start complaining. With the authorities obsessed about boosting winter tourism, perhaps they should be making more of an effort to make sure that the few winter tourists currently coming here are well looked after, well protected and aware of the dangers. “I want to see the police getting tough on these petty criminals, it's not good for business and it's not good for Majorca,” Sol said.

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