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Cops carry out dawn raids on people camping in visitor hotspots

Wake-up call: Police out on dawn patrol in Newquay, Cornwall PICTURES: SWNS

DAWN raids were launched by police as day trippers flouted lockdown rules and stayed overnight at holiday hotspots.

People who had stayed in vans, campervans and tents were ordered home by police after receiving an early morning wake-up call and sent packing amid growing anger at the ‘selfishness’ of visitors.

Officers took direct action against campers after beaches across the UK were packed yesterday, causing chaos on the roads and making social distancing difficult.

The mini heatwave and easing of lockdown by the government saw many coastal towns overwhelmed with visitors.

Flouting the rules: People ignored government advice and stayed overnight

But with car parks closed and no facilities open, roads became gridlocked and beaches were described as ‘carnage.’

Although police are powerless to stop people travelling to the seaside under current government guidelines, they can use their powers to ensure people don’t stay.

And cops in Newquay, Cornwall, were among those out on dawn patrol this morning to clear tourists away and were pictured confronting campers.

Posting just after 6am today, police in Newquay said: ‘We identified some visitors that had travelled to Newquay and stayed overnight against Public Health England advice and legislation.

‘With engagement, explanation and education they moved on. We love visitors to the town, #comebacklater.’

There was also widespread anger from locals in the Lizard in Cornwall that some visitors set up tents and stayed overnight in vans with ‘blatant disregard’ for public safety.

This included sightings of tents at Pistol Meadow, near the former wireless station and at Pentreath, with vans also seen staying overnight in the National Trust car park for the lighthouse and on land adjoining the Kynance car park.

Janice Thirlaway-Price said many residents were angry at the apparent flouting of government lockdown rules.

She said: ‘There are no facilities open, so nowhere to go to the toilet for ten miles — Tesco or Sainsbury’s — which leads to the dangers of human waste in and around the footpaths local people are using for their daily exercise.’

She added that such actions potentially added an extra drain on emergency services and pointed out that beaches were not currently being patrolled, which could cause problems for people unaware of the dangers of currents and tides.

Overwhelmed: Towns were packed with visitors following the heatwave

‘There is the increased risk of spreading Covid-19 and the impact it will have on Treliske and our local doctors,’ she said. ‘Various footpaths around the village make it impossible to maintain a two metre distance.’

The National Trust said that people should not be staying overnight on their land at any time, but particularly not now in light of the coronavirus rules.