POLICE IN the Algarve undertook a major operation last weekend to put a stop to illegal camping in the region. In total, 26 campers were fined after pitching tents in forbidden areas. In addition to these, the authorities detected dozens of other cases, where the individuals concerned heeded police warnings.
According to a GNR source, the main areas inspected during the operation were the Ria Formosa, southeast Alentejo, the Costa Vicentina natural parks, as well as the Sapal Nature Reserve of Castro Marim and Vila Real de Santo António. The operation involved 51 members of the Serviço de Protecção da Natureza e do Ambiente (SEPNA), who sought to target people setting up tents and parking caravans in illegal locations, as well as individuals setting up stalls to sell beach accessories in prohibited areas.
Police combed the islands of Armona, Culatra, Hangares, Fuzeta, Farol and Tavira in the Sotavento (eastern Algarve), finding the majority of the offenders in these areas. Meanwhile, in the Barlavento area (western Algarve), only four individuals were fined, although the police cautioned a total of 116 campers and caravan owners, many of whom were found parked in the dunes, especially at the Amado and Carrapateira beaches on the Costa Vicentina. Other cases were detected on Praia dos Pescadores in Armação de Pêra, as well as on the Castelo and Galé beaches of Albufeira.
The operation, which passed off without incident, was seen as an exercise to educate people about the laws currently in place regarding camping.