Tenerife Magazine’s round up of some of the most interesting news stories of the week in Tenerife.

A Big Hand for the Guardia Civil
This week a team of Guardia Civil agents apprehended a highly organised gang consisting of eight Spanish and three Argentinians who had been ‘relieving’ tourists of their luggage and thousands upon thousands of euros for at least a year.

The gang had been operating at Reina Sofia Airport, taking suitcases from carousels and targeting and following tourist coaches to their hotels to grab bags there as well.
The fact that they were able to succeed virtually unnoticed was mainly down to one thing; their ages made them above suspicion. All gang members were in their 50s and 60s; nobody suspects for a moment that the mature woman in glasses standing beside them waiting for a case that isn’t hers is a thief.

Their operation came to light in January last year after the gang apparently unwittingly stole a German millionaire’s case containing jewellery worth half an million euros. From then on Operation Patagonia was set in motion by the Guardia Civil and, following a year long investigation to identify the perpetrators and collect sufficient evidence to build a rock solid case, this week the members of the Cocoon gang were finally put behind bars.

However, like all good Hollywood heist stories, the ring leader, thought to be based in South America, remains at liberty. So next time you’re at the carousel in the airport and that nice old dear “Mistakenly’ grabs for the wrong suitcase, watch her like a hawk; she may just be a criminal mastermind.

The Sting Story Continues
Concert promoters insist that Sting will perform in The Canary Islands on 30 June as part of his Back to Bass tour… but which island hasn’t been decided yet. Is there a behind the scenes auction taking place to determine which island will contribute most to staging the show?

Raise a Glass to Tenerife’s Wines
Fancy a rather snazzy young red vino? Look no further than Viña Norte’s Maceración Carbónica. The sprightly youngster from Tacoronte-Acentejo with its smooth, creamy texture and perky raspberry and redcurrants flavour was recently chosen as one of the three best young red wines in Spain by the Spanish Association of Wine Writers (AEPEV). That’s definitely worth celebrating with a glass or two of the good stuff.

Tenerife’s Councils Waking up to the Power of Social Media
It’s encouraging to learn that more and more of Tenerife’s councils are actually starting to wake up to the social media roller-coaster that has revolutionised the international world of communication. This week the northern municipality of El Sauzel will be running a social media workshop to ‘inform’ and ‘debate’ social media and its benefits or disadvantages in relation to local businesses and tourism.

Sessions include talking about social networks as a means of global communication and the use of facebook by local authorities.

It’s all good progressive stuff and it’s great to see El Sauzal’s council encouraging discussion and debate amongst its citizens except there’s one little niggle. On El Sauzal’s official website there are no signs or links to a facebook page, Twitter account, Flickr account… nada. There’s no evidence that they are hooked into any social media channels and yet they’re holding a workshop about them.

And finally the TIT (This Is Tenerife) of the week award goes to”¦ Playa de las Caletillas.
This is a cautionary tale for all those ayuntamientos who look enviously at Tenerife’s golden, immaculate, man-made resort beaches and think “We want one like that”. Las Caletillas is a Tenerife resort that you don’t often hear much about in English language press or websites as it lies on Tenerife’s east coast away from any other resort and caters mainly for non-British holidaymakers.

It doesn’t have the greatest of beaches, but it’s a pleasant enough area with some nice bars and restaurants and it’s joined on to Candelaria so visitors get a slice of authentic old town Tenerife thrown in for good measure. But its coastline can’t compare with that of the resorts further south.

Over a year ago it was decided that something had to be done and work began to make Playa de las Caletillas all shiny, new and more attractive to visitors.

But this is Tenerife and a year down the line, the ‘new’ beach is in such a state that locals have quipped they’ll be surprised if it’s finished before the end of the decade. According to reports, most days there are only two workman to be found creating the new beach. The contractor has been reported as saying that because of the crisis they don’t have the money to commit any more workmen to the project. This prompts the question “Why take on contracts you can’t deliver?’ Although, I think we all know the answer to that one.

Officials now say it is almost impossible to predict when the work will be completed.

Playa de las Caletillas may not have been a beach that inspired thoughts of ‘Bounty’ adverts but at least people could use and enjoy it. Now it’s closed and local enterprises are claiming that business is down 75%. It doesn’t look as though the situation is likely to improve for the usually busy Easter period or, more worrying still, for the summer season.

To all Tenerife’s ayuntamientos who crave better beaches, if you suffer from that Tenerife blight of planningophobia think long and hard before you agree to have that first shovel digging into what sand you’ve already got or your golden dreams may turn into a nightmare.