Woman's car vandalised near St Austell after being wrongly mistaken for a second home owner

A woman's car has been vandalised near St Austell in Cornwall after she was wrongly targeted as a second home owner or holiday maker.

Sue Skyba had a tin of gloss point poured over her yellow VW Beetle yesterday (Tuesday 14 April), causing hundreds of pounds worth of damage and potentially writing off the car.

Sue believes it was someone who mistakenly thought her family were holidaymakers who had visited Duporth, near St Austell, during the lockdown.

She said in a Facebook post:

I can only assume people thought it was someone on holiday. My son has an auto immune disease and my neighbour has kindly let him move into his holiday home as we have to self-isolate due to returning from abroad.

Sue Skyba

Sue's son Philip, who is 40, had been living in his parents’ home after splitting from his wife while they visited their other son in Australia.

Philip was forced to move out and self-isolate elsewhere after they travelled home via Singapore just at the coronavirus pandemic took hold, making them a risk to Philip with his auto immune disease.

Sue, who is 63, said:

We got home and had to self-isolate and, of course, were a possible risk to Philip’s health as he’s on immuno-suppressant drugs, so our neighbour kindly let him move into the holiday home his family often stay in. Signs have appeared in the village saying ‘visitors stop spreading the virus’ so I think someone thinks that there are visitors in the holiday home.

Sue Skybe
Sue Skyba shared the post in a support group on Facebook. Credit: Sue Skyba

Sue found the vandalised car shortly after waking up. The paint had made its way into the engine, which Sue says will take hundreds of pounds to repair but is more likely to be declared a write-off.

She says she'll be unable to work to pay off the repairs on the car.

I’m really angry because I have two jobs, neither of which I can do – I help look after holiday homes, which are obviously closed, and I work in Asda, but can’t at the moment because I’m isolating. So I can’t work to pay for the repairs on my car.

Sue Skyba

She added: “As well as people dying, there’s an awful of hardship and someone adds to it by doing this.”

After posting a photo of what happened on Facebook, Sue was inundated with sympathetic comments with one saying: “A very genuine reason for a holiday let to be occupied. Sorry to see this.”

Another suggested: “Perhaps it's worth putting a sign up in the window to inform people you are NOT a holiday maker. I know you shouldn't have to.”

Someone else hoped the post would cause the culprit to apologise: “Turning on each other like this will get us nowhere fast. This kind of mindset destroys human kindness.”

The incident has been reported to the police and the crime reference number is CR029892-20. If anybody has any information they are asked to contact the police on 101.