The Cornish village refusing to let antisocial beach parties ruin seaside

  • Charlotte Gay has been back to meet the beach rangers to see what's changed.

Tourism is an important part of Cornwall's seaside economy but one village is breathing a sigh of relief that a spate of antisocial behaviour has come to an end.

Polzeath is well known for its second homes and north coast surfing community but it also has a reputation for a place for school leavers partying in early July.

This year Devon and Cornwall Police brought in a 48 hour dispersal order which banned groups from gathering on the beach after vandals damaged emergency equipment, smashed glass bottles and left large amounts of litter.

Rangers Charlie and Bev on their morning patrols cleaning up from the night before Credit: ITV News

Beach ranger Andy Stewart said this action sent a "huge message" to the youngsters causing the trouble, saying "we will not tolerate this kind of behaviour".

"I think the best thing was the police can do that anywhere. So if we displace the problem, the dispersal notice will effectively follow them."

Kerensa Beer-Robinson owns box beach cafe and says the summers before the dispersal order came in were "pretty grim".

"I would walk in most mornings, there would be glass all over the tables, there would be broken glass on our decking, there would be sick and worse."

Polzeath life saving club is unable to run its annual fundraiser because of the disruption on the beach earlier this summer Credit: Instagram / polzeathsurflifesavingclub

The beach rangers and the community group Polzeath Together are in no doubt the majority of these young drinkers come to Cornwall when private schools break up for summer ahead of state schools.

Now the summer holidays are in full swing for all schools in the UK, fellow ranger Bev Samuels says the current levels of litter left behind is nothing "considering what it's been like".

Ranger Charlie Morrow says before it was "like a lunar landscape of litter all over the place."

Kerensa helps run Polzeath Together - a community organisation which aims keep the beach enjoyable and safe for all. Credit: ITV News

The Polzeath Together campaign is a community organisation which started off the back of a particularly busy summer in 2020 when businesses and locals felt like they could no longer tolerate the levels of antisocial behaviour.

Two summers later and Kerensa says the message seems to be is slowly getting through to visitors.

"Anecdotally, parents say we'd never let that happen. We're making sure we're telling our kids what's going on. And that's exactly what the aim was. It was an education campaign really to say, are you aware that this is a problem?"

Beach rangers say they have been in contact with senior school leaders about pupils who come down to party in the first weeks of the summer but they hope parents too will share the message with their teenage children to have fun but be respectful.