A dispute over a 34-thousand-euro fuel contract debt between Orihuela council and the Solred company has forced most, if not all, of the local police cars and bikes off the road. Last weekend, cars patrolling around the Orihuela Costa had to do 70-kilometre round-trips to Orihuela City to fill up, with coastal political party CLARO, saying that the police patrols could not do their job on the Orihuela Costa over a very busy period, reducing their flexibility and reaction time to any possible emergencies.    

The Información newspaper reported that as of Wednesday, most of the patrol cars and bikes were “off the road” (pretty much most of the fleet) in the Orihuela municipality because they were out of fuel. Soldred said they wrote to Orihuela council in May over four outstanding invoices dating back as far as December 2014, warning that if the debt was not paid, then their pumps would be shut to the council in June. The company continued to provide a service to Orihuela until their contract finished last week, and now the pumps have been shut off to the authority.

Unions have denounced the situation and said that protests will take place if the impasse is not resolved soon, stating that the employment of their members is being affected, as well as the safety of residents across the area. In a quote to the Información newspaper, Orihuela’s Public Safety councillor Mariola Rocamora said on Wednesday: – “Nobody has told me anything.”         

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