World Bulletin / News Desk
Several members of the Spanish patriot group Denaes have threatened the fragile relations between Spain and the UK by towing away one of the controversial concrete blocks placed by the UK authorities in the waters off Gibraltar.
The group which "promotes patriotism" and fights for the "dignity of the Spanish nation" known as Denaes, used a fishing boat to tow the block back to the southern Spanish town of San Roque.
According to Spanish daily La Vanguardia, a local judge is now deciding whether the act of removing the block weighing several tonnes was illegal.
A spokesperson for the British Embassy in Madrid told The Local they were aware of the incident on the part of a group called The Foundation for the Defence of the Spanish Nation.
"The removal of a concrete block is an individual act of vandalism. It is not a violation of British sovereignty," that spokesperson said.
In 2013 the concrete blocks were at the centre of a diplomatic storm between the UK and Spain.
Tensions flared when boats from the tiny UK-held territory of Gibraltar dumped the blocks in disputed waters used by Spanish fishermen in July. Spain complained the blocks threaten the livelihoods of Spanish fishermen and Gibraltar said it was creating an artificial reef that would boost fish populations.
Britain and Gibraltar charged that Madrid subsequently stepping up border checks, leading to huge queues for motorists was a retaliatory measure aimed at choking the territory's economy.
Spain ceded Gibraltar to Britain in 1713 but has long argued that it should be returned to Spanish sovereignty. London says it will not do so against the wishes of Gibraltarians, who are staunchly pro-British.
The waters off Gibraltar remain disputed.