Not only can the beaches of the Orihuela Costa boast some of the best quality service standards in the area, with quality accreditations aplenty, they are also home to some of the most innovative developments in the world.
Already this year the beach of Playa la Glea has taken delivery of what may have looked like a simple oversized white box, but when it opened, it revealed itself to be one of the most secure beach locker units there is. In fact, according to the company trialling the lockers, it is the only unit in the world in the configuration on the coast of Orihuela.
For the cost of just 5 euro per day, beachgoers can use a locker all day long, returning to it as many times as they like, storing their valuables in a secure and safe manner. Countless stories in the past have revealed how beaches can provide easy pickings for thieves, as many people simply leave their bags and valuables in the open as they go for a swim or a walk, distractions, relaxing or even a snooze can mean our defences are down and we are more vulnerable to crime.
Sometimes thieves simply pick up valuables off the beach and walk away, sometimes they bury them in the sand and return later, occasionally the theft of a set of car keys may lead thieves to take the vehicle and often find the address of the property, knowing it to be vacant, they can simply enter and take what they want.
Of course this is a very bleak picture, and we know that overall the crime rate is down in Orihuela, but the fact that these lockers provide the means of protecting ourselves from becoming a victim of opportunistic crime means that the criminals will have less availability and therefore everybody can be more secure.
The lockers have an integrated information screen with them, available in a variety of languages, including English, which will guide you through the process of acquiring your locker.
Telling the system that you want to hire a locker for the day, you simply pay your 5 euro, either by credit or debit card, or in cash with coins. The system then allocates you a locker and number and delivers a small plastic token with a secure barcode on. A simple scan of the barcode on the “magic eye” of the locker will start the process of releasing the locking mechanism, allowing you to securely leave your belongings out of temptations way. Once finished, lock the door and take your taken with you, maybe tied around your wrist with one of the provided bands, and enjoy they day at the beach.
As an added bonus, once you have your locker allocated, you also get a code for the high-speed WiFi network, with a 10 megabyte speed, which you can also use all day long. The chiringuito beach bars already provide free WiFi in their immediate proximity, but the benefit of this system is that you can use it pretty much anywhere on the beach.
The councillor for the coast, Martina Scheurer, was given a guided tour of the facility by Jef Van Hyfte, the man behind the initiative. Detailing how the unit is self powering, from solar energy, with a battery backup, it is also environmentally friendly. Scheurer explained how that fact alone could contribute to part of the next level of accreditations for the beaches in the area, as the town hall are shortly going to be looking at improving the environmental qualities in the area.
It is also reassuring to know that should the power fail, then the system is fail-safe and will remain locked until an engineer attends and provides more power. In fact, engineers carry out regular checks on the systems that operate the lockers, as well being able to monitor them from afar, and with a multilingual team on hand should a problem ever occur, you can be safe in the knowledge that your belongings are protected, as you enjoy the peace, quiet or fun in the sun of a day at the beach.