Stallholders, who arrived to find their booths had been broken into. | Alejandro Sepúlveda

Christmas stallholders in Palma are angered by a wave of robberies and what they say is the passivity of the town hall. "The situation is intolerable. We are sick of being robbed at night and no one doing anything about it. We called those responsible for the market and they told us that the inspector had a day off and would attend to us the next day," says one trader.

Around 2am on Monday morning, they were the target of more robberies - on this occasion, booths in Plaça Mercat near the Provincial Court building. A private security company filed an incident report for that time.

"We have been told that a guard saw three people trying to rob booths but that they ran off. How is it possible that in such a small square they can break into three booths and smash the shutters? We are working 40 days in a row, eleven hours a day, and then they come and rob us."

The police anticipate making arrests, saying that the robbers are youths from a gang which has been causing various problems in the area.