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Spanish farmers tool up to tackle thieves

A wave of rural robberies in Murcia has led farmers to look for ways to legally arm themselves in order to defend their livelihoods.

Spanish farmers tool up to tackle thieves
Get off my land: farmers have been warned that hunting licences do not permit them to shoot at would-be intruders. File Photo: Flickr/Hortolano

The president of the Coordinator of Organizations of Farmers and Growers (COAG) in the southeast Spanish city of Cartagena revealed details this week of a crime wave that is frustrating local farmers.

Vincente Carrión told La Opinion de Murcia newspaper: "In the last week alone they've stolen two power converters and broken into three houses."

Civil Guard officers have warned farmers that they are not allowed to use firearms to deter would-be intruders, even if the firearms are legally owned.

"A hunting licence doesn't allow a property owner to use a gun as a means of defence," explained Carrión.

He added: "But it's not unheard of for  someone with a hunting licence to fire a shot into the air to scare off thieves."

Carrión also explained that a hunting licence was not an open licence to carry a gun at any time and any place.

"One man was out with a shotgun at night, next to a road, and the Civil Guard called him to order."

To avoid legal difficulties, farmers' groups are looking into acquiring qualifications as 'country guards' , which confer permission to patrol one's land and carry a firearm.

Carrión noted that "large landowners are choosing to use private security firms, alarm systems and video surveillance to protect their properties."

He added: "But small farmers can't afford that level of security."

Carrión hoped that the Civil Guard and local police would coordinate their efforts better and continue to work with local farmers to seek solutions "to put an end to this wave of robberies."

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FOOTBALL

Spain’s footballers slam ‘hoax’ strip poker claims

Spain's football federation have dismissed a Brazilian media report that Spanish football players indulged in a game of strip poker with five women during their current Confederations Cup campaign in the South American country.

Spain's footballers slam 'hoax' strip poker claims
Spain footballers Sergio Ramos (L), Javi Martinez (C) and Roberto Soldado in Panama in November 2012. File photo: Rodrigo Arangua/AFP

The football federation (RFEF) "roundly dismissed" the story on Brazilian sports portal GloboEsporte.

In the 'exposé', the wesbite claimed Spanish footballers and a member of the team's technical support unit celebrated their June 17th victory over Uruguay by engaging in a night of high jinx at the Golden Tulip hotel in the Brazilian city of Recife.

GloboEsporte said the Spaniards held a private party in the establisment with music, caipirinhas, beer and women".

Towards dawn, a group of five women went back to the players' rooms, according to the sports site.

The portal also cited workers and security staff to back up its claims that the Spaniards indulged in a game of strip poker.

But Spain's football federation have slammed the story, Spanish site 20minutos reported on Tuesday.

"We don't even want to give any credit to the story by responding," said  Antonio Bustillo, spokesperson for the RFEF.

The hotel manager, meanwhile, labelled the story "a hoax", and blamed rivals of Spain for the night-long party.

Several days earlier, GloboEsporte had also published a story claiming money had been stolen from Spanish footballers staying at the Recife establishment.

The hotel, however, said the claims were completely false.

"The hotel didn't receive any complaints from the Spanish team about this or any other incident," said the hotel

But the local Recife police force has decided the investigate the claims of theft anyway.

Speaking to GloboEsporte, one of the city's top cops said the case was one for the city Tourism Commission.

"The commissioner went to the hotel, collected forensic evidence and heard the evidence of 27 people," said the policeman.

He said authorities still wanted to hear from Spain's footballers in relation to the incident.

Spain will face Italy in the semi-finals of the Confederations Cup in what is a rematch of the UEFA Euro 2012 final which Spain won 4–0.

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