Police crackdown on ‘vigilantes’ targeting second home owners

Police in the West Country have vowed to crackdown on vigilantes targeting second home owners.

Tensions have risen in some regional communities where holiday home owners are believed to be staying during the coronavirus lockdown.

Earlier this week, Sue Skyba, from St Austell in Cornwall, had paint thrown over her car - even though she lives at her address.

The 63-year-old, whose car will have to be written off, said she thinks someone mistook her and her son for holidaymakers.

It is one of a number of incidents reported to Devon and Cornwall Police this week, who say acts of vigilantism are “unacceptable”.

The force’s Assistant Chief Constable Glen Mayhew said anyone with concerns about second home owners or holidaymakers should contact the police - not take matters into their own hands.

Devon and Cornwall Police's Assistant Chief Constable Glen Mayhew. Credit: Devon Live

Over the Easter bank holiday weekend, Cornwall Council received around 300 calls from people complaining about holiday lettings and other accommodation providers staying open.

The council asked people to use a hotline to make sure government lockdown restrictions were being actively enforced.

Holiday lets have closed across the UK in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Credit: PA

Councillor Rob Nolan, who is the environment and public protection cabinet member at Cornwall Council, said more than 1,200 cases had since been investigated as a result of the new line.

"A lot of them were allowed to be open, they had NHS staff and such like in there," Mr Nolan said.

"A majority, when we went to see them, did agree to close; we got a few who were being difficult. But, by and large, it's been terrific - the community have responded and told us about it."

For the latest updates on coronavirus in the West Country, including case numbers, event cancellations and venue closures, click here.

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