A street seller prepared for a night's work. | Guillem Rosselló

The Balearic tourism of excesses law, limited as it is to areas of only four resorts - Arenal (Llucmajor), Magalluf, Playa de Palma and Sant Antoni - prohibits the retail sale of alcohol between the hours of 9.30pm and 8am. More than this, the bottles and cans have to be removed from view. If they weren't removed, the stores would have to close.

It is the lament of other businesses and of residents in Playa de Palma that these shops - tourist supermarkets - don't stick to the rules. But for the most part they do, and so after 9.30 an illegal trade flourishes. Street sellers carry buckets of beer and bags with other drink, e.g. vodka. They mingle with the other street sellers peddling anything from football shirts to hats shaped like roast chicken and perhaps other 'items'.

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Surveying the debris left by street-drinking gatherings, themselves prohibited (theoretically), the brands of the alcohol are the same. They are supplied by the street sellers, who at night become the main source of alcohol supply, unless people go to bars and clubs.

The police do their best in attempting to contain all this, but the other lament, often repeated, is that there simply aren't enough police for the great numbers of tourists and indeed street sellers. It falls to the Palma force to deal with this, as illegal street selling isn't a National Police responsibility.

The excesses law may have sought to remove one source of alcohol supply, but it has failed to prevent another, which is a direct consequence of the law.