a weekly update of the local news


Six hundred km walk to protest against officialdom – When Gerrit Andriaensen was dismissed from his long-term employment, he was dismayed to find that, as the company had not issued the requisite paperwork in time, he was not entitled to receive unemployment benefit.  To publicise his cause, the 57 year old decided to walk all the way to the Elysée Palace in Paris.  300 kilometres from his destination he heard that his case had been won and after a journey which took 15 days covering 50 kilometres per day he has returned to the Cerdagne and has now received compensation.
Two youths sentenced for string of crimes – In October 2011 a couple of tourists were held up at gunpoint as they drove through St. Cyprien by the hooded occupants of a BMW X5.  As they drove off to seek help, a shot was fired through the passenger window and the female passenger was taken to hospital with a hand injury.  Later that month Halloween festivities in Bages were interrupted by 2 youths firing shots into the air from a BMW X5.  Two weeks later, an early morning robbery was interrupted when the owners returned home – and the burglars were seen escaping in a BMW X5.  The vehicle, which had been stolen, was finally discovered at the end of 2012 where fingerprint evidence linked it to the two young men, who were already well-known to the police.  They have been sentenced to many years in prison.
Hoax text message – Police are still trying to track down the author of a hoax test message that has been sent to many phones in the area.  The message advises that a 3 year old girl has been abducted from Vernet-les-Bains, and even gives the licence plate of a car said to be involved.  Police have assured the public that no such abduction has taken place and to ignore the message.
Fire destroys shopping centre – The Centre Commerciale du Canigou at St. Estève has been totally destroyed by a devastating fire which raged early in the week.  At least 20 establishments, including shops, cafés and newsagents, have been put out of business. No arrests have yet been made as police continue their enquiries.
Eighty five year-old dies after a fall – On Monday evening an old man from Port-Vendres set off for his nightly stroll, but did not return.  The next day, tracker dogs were called in to follow his route but stopped at the water’s edge.  His body was later found in the water at the foot of a cliff and it is believed that he fell.
‘New’ drug discovered in P-O – Customs officers discovering a bag of white crystals hidden in the dashboard of a car from Hungary at first thought it was some sort of explosives, but tests revealed it to be a new ‘synthetic’ drug from China known as PVP.  The driver of the car explained in court that he had been threatened by ‘dangerous’ people who had forced him to drive to Lloret and transport the drugs.  His female passenger said that she knew  nothing of this and thought she was just accompanying her boyfriend to the Costa Brava to look at holiday homes.
Posthumous marriage in Argeles – A posthumous wedding (which first came into existence during WW1) can only be carried out with the permission of the President and by definition means that on the day of the marriage, the surviving partner becomes a widow.  One such marriage took place in January at Argeles Town Hall.  Jean-Luc and Christian met and fell in love in 2007 but he died of TB in 2012 at the age of 51.
And finally…..
Spitting feathers? – A dispute which had been simmering for several months between two street vendors finally erupted into blows on Saturday morning.  The argument between the two rotisserie chicken vendors started when the second one opened his stall directly next to the first one’s stand.  Such was the violence of the fight that the two men had to be taken to hospital – one to Cabestany and one to Perpignan.

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