Orihuela council have reached an agreement with a service station based at the village of Arneva, after a dispute between the council and a fuel provider over a debt led to nearly all of the local police cars and bikes being taken off the roads this week. The row between the authority and the Solred company led to the situation last weekend where cars patrolling around the Orihuela Costa had to do 70 kilometre round-trips to Orihuela City to fill up, and that will still be the case, for the time being. The coastal political party CLARO, said 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 the row was over a 34 thousand debt, with Solred saying that 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 the authority was left without a fuel supplier, until a deal was done on Wednesday.

Vehicles based on the Orihuela Costa will still have to do a long journey to Arneva to get fuel, but Orihuela finance councillor, Rafael Almagro, said that it was only a temporary move to get the fleet back on the road whilst a solution is found over the impasse with Solred, or a more permanent deal is done with the new supplier. He said that Solred were only owed seven thousand euros, and that “he could think of many words to describe Solred’s sanctions but wasn’t prepared to say them”.    

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