Former Huddersfield gymnast and pub landlord Brian Hayhurst and his wife Elaine are ex-pats who have lived just outside Fuengirola on the Costa del Sol for 20 years. Here Brian tells us about his dramatic week.

In the early hours of Monday morning a devastating fire ripped through the decadent restaurant and entertainment venue ‘Olivia’s’ in La Cala de Mijas on the Costa del Sol, totally destroying the interior.

The popular eatery was owned by TV star Elliott Wright, of TOWIE fame. Elliott has been left devastated by the fire but is determined to set about rebuilding the dream outlet he and a business partner developed several years ago.

Grateful for the hundreds of offers of help and support he said: “I am so thankful for the outpouring of support and want to make clear I will never be beaten. Like the Phoenix it will rise again.”

This terrible blow adds to the sadness he experienced recently after his father Eddie died aged 65 after a battle with Coronavirus.

Elliott is cousin to another TV star Mark Wright, who is married to Michelle Keegan. They along with other well-known stars, footballers and X-Factor winners were frequent visitors to Olivia’s. We know that many Huddersfield holidaymakers often enjoy evenings there.

It is now only days after the main roof collapsed onto the main bar that the bulldozers came in clearing the site, with Elliott assisting.

The cause of the fire is being investigated and it seems from CCTV footage that two individuals were recorded inside setting light to the interior.

Firemen are open minded at this stage but expressed concern that there have been a spate of arsons at upmarket restaurants being gutted by what they think are rival gangs. What the motive is remains a mystery.

Looky looky men flee police

Meanwhile up and down the Costa, Gibraltar has declared itself completely free of Covid and has vaccinated all of its 35,000 residents. They also carry out a stringent test/check on the thousands of incoming workers each day.

Everyone is moving around the rock mask-free and ready to welcome any tourists this summer. And Malaga port has said that they are preparing to allow cruise liners back in which has, in the past, brought millions of tourists to the region from all corners of the globe.

During a ride on the seafront this week I spotted a group of ‘looky looky’ men being chased by police who are having another crackdown on selling of fake high-end bags and trainers.

These young men troll the streets and disrupt diners – most of whom are residents – offering their watches, bags etc. Sometimes they are even being allowed inside to pester customers.

The group of about a half-a-dozen I saw picked up their wares on blankets, tied at corners by rope and were chased off by police. They ran in all directions carrying their bundles on their shoulders.