Illegal trading, a constant issue in Palma. | Miquel À. Cañellas

Palma's small to medium sized businesses yesterday totally rejected the findings of a survey carried out by Palma town hall which claims that 54 per cent of small traders are more or less unaffected by illegal street traders.

The survey was carried out to assess the success of the work mounted by the local police last summer and 460 traders were questioned. According to the report, 69 per cent of commercial establishments in Palma believe that illegal street vendors' trade has either remained the same or declined over the past year.

The councillor for public safety, Angelica Pastor, said she was "satisfied" with the results, claiming "the increase in the number of police on the beat has generated the expected results".

The head of the local police, Josep Palouzie, pointed out that the data obtained in the survey will serve as a basis to prepare this summer's security operation, which will be launched at Easter.

The Pimem association of small to medium-sized businesses voiced its "total disagreement" with the survey. Its president, Jordi Mora, said that he and his members consider that the survey was "unrealistic" and has asked the town hall to apologise and organise a formal meeting with his association to discuss the problem of illegal street traders in Palma. According to Mora, they do have a negative effect on legal trade and also give the city a poor image.

Arts and craft traders have complained continuously to the town hall that the competition from illegal traders is also unfair because they fail to comply with all the costly rules and regulations.