South-west England is 'full to capacity’ after influx of tourists during heatwave, say police

Andy Wells
·Freelance Writer
·2-min read
POLZEATH, ENGLAND - JULY 21: Beachgoers enjoy Polzeath beach on July 21, 2020 in Polzeath, United Kingdom. Many UK residents have decided to go on 'staycations' to Devon and Cornwall this summer during the pandemic. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
Beachgoers enjoy Polzeath beach in Cornwall as the UK experiences a heatwave. (PA)

Devon and Cornwall Police have said that the south-west of England is “full to capacity” following a surge of tourists to the area.

The force said prolonged hot weather has seen people travel to the area in droves – bringing with it an “unprecedented demand” to their services.

Meanwhile, many are holidaying at home during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, with nearly a third (28%) of people saying they’d take a break in the UK than travel abroad, according to YouGov.

Police said there had been a 26% increase in demand for 999 services last weekend compared with 2019, while the force received 2,301 emergency calls at the weekend, with anti-social behaviour accounting for many of the calls.

Officers were forced to attend a "plethora of different incidents”, that included 31 reports of environmental anti-social behaviour, including disposable barbeques and other rubbish being left behind by people.

ST IVES, ENGLAND - AUGUST 09: Holiday-makers walk the narrow streets on August 9, 2020 in St Ives, Cornwall, England. The RNLI has called on beachgoers in the south west of England to follow water safety advice and adhere to social distancing. Last week, the charity carried out 30 rescues in one day on just one beach in Cornwall. (Photo by Hugh R Hastings/Getty Images)
Holiday-makers walk the narrow streets in St Ives, Cornwall, during the heatwave. (Getty)

Officers said a further 102 reports of anti-social behaviour (ASB) were "often drink-related" and recorded another 191 reports of people being a “nuisance".

In August alone, the force said it had taken 9,622 calls, equating to about 962 per day and "significantly up" on the average 718.

The force said Devon and Cornwall was "largely full to current capacity" and visitors should book ahead before travelling.

Assistant Chief Constable Jim Colwell said: ”We want to welcome tourists safely back into our communities and support a restart to our essential tourism economy.

"But that needs to be done respectfully by everyone and the levels of ASB recorded over the weekend are unacceptably high.

"We understand people want to enjoy what our region has to offer, but please do this safely and within the law, otherwise police will take proactive enforcement action to protect others.

POLZEATH, ENGLAND - JULY 21: Beachgoers enjoy Polzeath beach on July 21, 2020 in Polzeath, United Kingdom. Many UK residents have decided to go on 'staycations' to Devon and Cornwall this summer during the pandemic. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
Devon and Cornwall Police said the prolonged hot weather has seen people travel to the area in droves. (PA)

With further good weather expected over the coming weekend and planning is already under way for increased numbers over the August bank holiday weekend.

Asst Chief Constable Colwell added: ”Come safely and prepared to Devon and Cornwall and you will be welcomed.

"Book your accommodation before you travel, drive safely on our roads, respect our coasts and drink responsibly.”

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