Belfast Telegraph: Magaluf Uncovered 2015: Street Angels warn that the Punta Ballena strip is very dangerous
Muggings, fights and vodka-induced injuries are just some of things the Magaluf Street Angels witness every night.
As pub crawls finish, bars stop serving and shop owners start sweeping up empty cups and kebab boxes, it’s this organisation that is left to pick up the pieces.
And hordes of Christians from Northern Ireland are joining them.
It was at 8am, after a busy Saturday night shift, when Sunday Life caught up with the Street Angels at a hotel near Magaluf’s infamous Punta Ballena strip.
“We’ve had to help a few people from Northern Ireland who have had too much to drink and have been robbed and then can’t find their way back to their hotel,” said Cameron Springthorpe, a Street Angels volunteer.
“But what’s been great is the number of people from Northern Ireland who want to come out here and be part of the team and help those sorts of people.”
Street Angels patrol the area around the party town’s strip, returning everything from people to passports back to safety.
But last year, during the organisation’s pilot scheme, they spent the summer in Magaluf’s neighbouring town of Santa Ponsa — a favourite destination among many Northern Ireland tourists.
“There were a lot of people from Northern Ireland when we were in Santa Ponsa last year and it was very hostile sometimes,” said volunteer Martyn Skinner.
“There’s part of the strip in Santa Ponsa that they call Irish Corner and it could get quite scary there sometimes.
“Because it was such a small place with so many people, if someone said the wrong thing to someone then often it very quickly turned into a huge fight.”
He added: “There were people from all over Ireland, along with some other British tourists, but it was mainly Irish.
“It was just very compact and could become very intimidating.”
Just 15 minutes down the road in Magaluf, things are no better.
“Every night we see people being sick, others with bloody noses from fights, people in tears, asleep, too drunk to stand or even being robbed and it is always a result of too much drink or drugs,” said Martyn.
“The ambulance guys in Magaluf measure the amount of alcohol in someone’s system and if there’s not enough then they won’t do anything with them.
“But this can still mean someone is lying unconscious on their own so anything could happen to them. The medics just expect them to sleep it off.”
The 56-year-old added: “If they’re breathing then they are generally going to be okay but the scary thing is that these people have usually been robbed and don’t have a clue where they are.”
The pair also revealed that tourists having their drinks spiked is another big problem in Magaluf, with many falling victim to crafty thieves and sneaky sex pests.
“There are a lot of muggings that go on in Magaluf but it’s usually African women who prey on drunk male tourists.
“There can be quite a lot of them and they just loiter around waiting for boys on their own and then they link arms with them and pretend they are helping them back to their hotel or whatever before mugging them.”
Mugged tourists account for over 50 per cent of the people the Street Angels help.
“You see it happen every night and that’s why we walk people back to their hotels because often it’s on that drunken walk home that people are mugged and beaten up.
“Most people tell us that the worst thing about Magaluf is the robbing — there is so much of it. But drink is so cheap here that people can afford to drink all day and therefore they become vulnerable.”
Cameron said: “You would get some cases where you suspect drugs have been involved but generally it’s just too much alcohol.
“It’s not unusual for people to have been drinking from the afternoon when they’re lying round the pool or at the beach and then they go out to the strip and drink on top of that.”
The 38-year-old added: “The other night, for example, we found a girl who was alone, crying. We went over to check on her and it turned out that a boy she had been with had used her and then thrown her out and she had no idea where she was, where her hotel was or where any of her belongings were.
“She was very upset and we were running out of ideas until we prayed and within a minute we had spoken to one of her friends and found out where they were staying.
“I know without a doubt that we have saved lives.”
The yacht captain from West Scotland added: “There was a guy the other night who was lying on his back throwing up and he could have been seconds away from choking on it before we helped him.”
Despite Magaluf officials claiming to have cleaned up the notorious party town’s reputation, the Street Angels have seen little sign of change.
“Magaluf has changed in some ways, but in other ways it’s just the same,” said Cameron.
“I think there are less people drinking on the streets but that doesn’t mean they drink any less in the bars,” added Martyn.
“Urinating in the street certainly hasn’t changed — people still do that all the time. There aren’t any public toilets in Magaluf so I don’t know where they expect drunk people to go if they need to.
“It’s amazing because during the day Magaluf is like any other holiday resort with its sandy beaches and restaurants along the seafront but by night, it’s a totally different place.
“It can be a very, very dangerous place.”