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Mischievous monkeys to be deported from Gibraltar

Gibraltar is set to export 30 macaques to the UK to try to curb their numbers. Credit: Ben Birchall/PA Archive/Press Association Images.

Thirty raucous residents are set to be shipped out of Gibraltar and sent to the Britain - as the UK colony admits its monkey population has got a little out of control.

The Barbary macaques are a major draw for tourists visiting the small peninsula, which is home to the only wild ape population in Europe.

But with the population now at around 300, and increasing reports of the infamous inhabitants harassing locals, the government has made the decision to deport 30 of them to a UK wildlife park.

The monkeys are thought to be to blame for damaged property, stolen bags and attacks on people.

And they are increasingly abandoning their home on the nature reserve on the Upper Rock to venture into nearby towns.

The export is set to be officially announced at the end of the week.

Previous attempts have been made to curb the number of macaques but a cull of more than 20 and the export of another 20 to a German zoo failed to help.

Activity of Spanish Navy vessel raises "serious concerns"

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has raised "serious concerns" after a Spanish Navy vessel wrongly claimed commercial ships off Gibraltar were in Spanish waters.

Spanish Ambassador Federico Trillo has been summoned to appear at the Foreign Office following the incident, which occurred in international waters.

The FCO says the Spanish vessel's actions constitute a breach of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.

The activity of a Spanish Navy vessel has led to the summoning of Federico Trillo, the Spanish Ambassador to the UK, by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Credit: PA

Minister for Europe, the Rt Hon David Lidington MP, said: “I am extremely concerned by the actions of a Spanish Navy vessel which sought to redirect two commercial vessels heading to and from the Port of Gibraltar, wrongly claiming they were in Spanish waters.

“I condemn this provocative activity and urge the Spanish government to ensure that it is not repeated. Her Majesty’s Government will continue to take whatever action we consider necessary to uphold the interests of Gibraltar, its people, its security and economy."

Prime Minister David Cameron raised Gibraltar with Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy in the margins of an EU Council meeting.

He made it clear there must not be a repeat of last summer's disruption when the imposition of additional border checks by the Spanish led to long delays at the frontier.

MPs: People in Gibraltar feel 'under siege'

People in Gibraltar feel "under siege" due to the territory being the subject of diplomatic wrangling between the UK and Spanish governments, the House of Commons' Foreign Affairs Committee has said.

"The combination of direct pressure on its border and sovereign waters as well as

diplomatic pressure at the EU, UN and NATO, have resulted in a feeling in Gibraltar of

being under siege," the cross-party committee's latest report says.

The committee accuses Spain of "aggressive policies" towards Gibraltar and says the Government "has responsibilities toward Gibraltar and cannot ignore actions by Spain that are intended to make the lives of Gibraltarians difficult".

Govt 'has never been on the fence' on Gibraltar

The Government has rejected the suggestion from a committee of MPs that it needs to "get off the fence" and act more vigorously to protect British interests in Gibraltar.

A Government spokesman said: "This Government has never been on the fence when it comes to Gibraltar."

"We've been absolutely clear that we will never enter into arrangements under which the people of Gibraltar would pass under the sovereignty of another state against their wishes. And we protest each and every illegal incursion by Spanish state vessels into Gibraltar territorial waters."

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Spanish ships in Gibraltar 'unlawful' and 'dangerous'

The Spanish ships which entered British waters off Gibraltar acted in an "unlawful" and "dangerous" way, the Foreign Office has said.

Europe minister David Lidington has condemned the incursion by two Spanish vessels into British waters off Gibraltar Credit: PA/PA Archive/Press Association Images

"Not only were the actions of the survey vessel unlawful, but it was accompanied by a Spanish Guardia Civil vessel whose dangerous manoeuvring presented a significant safety concern on the waters," Europe minister David Lidington said.

Gibraltar incursion 'violation of UK sovereignty'

The incursion by a Spanish ship into British waters off Gibraltar is "provocative", "unlawful" and "a violation of our sovereignty", the Europe minister David Lidington has said.

David Lidington was speaking after a Spanish state research trip entered British waters along with a vessel belonging to the Guardia Civil, the part of Spain's police force responsible for protecting the coastline.

According to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, the waters around Gibraltar are indisputably British territorial waters, under United Kingdom sovereignty, in which only the United Kingdom has the right to exercise jurisdiction.

Her Majesty's Government takes a grave view of any attempt by Spain to exert authority or control within British Gibraltar territorial waters and considers such incursions as a violation of our sovereignty.

I strongly condemn this provocative incursion and urge the Spanish government to ensure that it is not repeated.

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