Cornish beach battles private school parties by installing floodlights and CCTV

Last year saw a curfew after late-night gatherings resulted in vandalism and broken glass across the sand

Benjamin Parker
Monday 10 July 2023 10:21 BST
It’s not hard to see the attraction of Polzeath’s beach
It’s not hard to see the attraction of Polzeath’s beach (Getty Images)

People living in the small Cornish seaside village of Polzeath are taking drastic measures to tackle anti-social behaviour from private-school students this summer.

Action is being taken following a two-day 10pm curfew imposed by police this time last year after groups of hundreds of drunken youths descended on the beach and caused chaos weeks before state schools began the summer holidays, reports The Guardian.

The surrounding benches, fences and stolen shed doors became fuel for beach bonfires, emergency life-saving equipment was vandalised and broken bottles were littered across the sand.

This summer, a towering CCTV camera is being installed to watch the beach, and there are also rechargeable floodlights in place.

“We are saying, ‘yes, come and party’, but at 1am the floodlights will be on the beach so they can see the mess,” says Andy Stewart told The Guardian. The former police officer now battles anti-social behaviour as Polzeath’s community-funded beach ranger.

“We will give them bin bags to clear up and say: ‘It’s time for bed’.”

Mr Stewart added that many parents have no clue what their children get up to in Polzeath: “They think they are sending their kids to this utopia, where they are sitting on the beach, playing guitar and swapping phone numbers. They don’t realise there is excessive drinking, cocaine, nitrous oxide, underage sex and big fires.”

Newquay, 25 miles along the Cornwall coast from Polzeath, has long been a destination for heavy parties, but the town has taken steps in recent years to stem the stag parties and wild antics. A decade ago, police banned risque fancy dress and sent some visitors home in a crackdown on antisocial behaviour.

Other parts of the UK have also started fighting back against the dark side of tourism that blights sought-after resorts. In May, residents in Whitstable, Kent, listed numerous problems caused by a tourists, as well as the proliferation of short-term rentals in recent years, from poor parking and litter to all-night parties.

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