Cornwall village fights back against drunken young tourists

By Neal Baldwin
03/08/2022
Home » Cornwall village fights back against drunken young tourists

A Cornish seaside village famed for its world-class surfing and picturesque streets has vowed to drive out increasing numbers of ‘young and drunken’ visitors who are making life hell for locals.

Polzeath regularly attracts big-name celebrities such as Fat Boy Slim, Hugh Grant and Gordon Ramsay, but residents say the town is being increasingly over-run by less-welcome rich outsiders in the summer months, and it is their irresponsible children who are raising hell. Some locals claim they have even witnessed tourists dropping off their teens in the town with shopping bags filled with booze.

Polzeath is unique in that it has its own squad of beach rangers, funded by the local parish council, who patrol the sands to ensure tourists remain safe.

But since the COVID pandemic, when domestic tourism increased dramatically, there has been a surge in anti-social behaviour that the rangers and local police are struggling to deal with.

Andy Stewart, one of the Polzeath beach rangers, told Cornwall Live: “Polzeath is a very popular Blue Flag beach and surf resort that attracts all different age groups. But it’s becoming known as a party town like Newquay was in the 90s when it became full of stag and hen dos.

“It took 10 years for Newquay to turn itself around and be known as a family-friendly place again. We don’t want Polzeath to go into decline because once it’s gone we’ll struggle to get our reputation back.”

Disorder reached a head last month when public lifesaving equipment was damaged and a party on the beach attracting around 500 saw benches, trees and fences broken up for a giant bonfire. Locals have also reported underage drinking, sex on the beach and huge amounts of litter and glass being left behind. Police have even issued a dispersal order to break up a party.

Locals have now had enough. They’ve formed Polzeath Together, a scheme that unites Cornwall Council, the police, fire service, RNLI, the Environment Agency, as well as local traders and beach rangers. Activity is being coordinated on Facebook, with a rapid response aimed at cracking down on bad behaviour.

Café owner and scheme organiser Kerensa Beer-Robson said: “We love visitors and we need them, the more the merrier. But it’s the tiny minority who are wrecking it for everyone else that we have issues with. We are trying to get through to them and get the message out. Police have upped the ante too and anti-social behaviour will not be tolerated. It’s not a ‘them and us’ thing. We rely on tourism but we want the beach to be enjoyable by everyone.”

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