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Nails in road and people with second homes urged 'lend them to NHS or Police'

Alison Hernandez, the Police and Crime Commissioner for Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly

Police in Paignton are investigating reports of nails being left in a road, as the force commissioner urges people to avoid travelling to the region this Easter and allow NHS workers or police to use their second homes.

Officers now increased patrols as they study CCTV footage of the reported nail incidents.

It come just days after part of the eastern esplanade was closed because of the numbers of people heading there.

A spokesperson for the force said: "Please be aware, we have been given information that there have been multiple reports of large nails being left around car tyres, both whilst parked on drives and on the road.

"Specific roads where we have had confirmed reports of this activity are Hollyhock Way, Mimosa Way and Foxglove Way.

"Please have a quick walk around your vehicle before driving to check for new damage or sharp objects which could puncture your tyres."

It comes as the Police and Crime Commissioner for one of the country’s most visited areas has backed calls for tourists and second home owners to stay away this Easter -  and to consider making properties available for the coronavirus response.

The Devon and Cornwall Police force has more domestic visitors than any other in the UK and a high proportion of elderly residents classed as vulnerable to Covid-19.

Despite restrictions on people’s movement residents have reported that some holiday accommodation providers are continuing to trade.

Devon and Cornwall Police has challenged some who have been travelling to the Westcountry for holidays.

Alison Hernandez, the Police and Crime Commissioner for Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, has added her voice to those calling for both tourists and second home owners to stay in their primary residences until restrictions are lifted.

She said: "In Devon and Cornwall our economy absolutely depends on tourism, and this time of year usually marks the start of a period that sees us hosting more domestic visitors than any other area,” she said.

"This year, unfortunately, the message is that coming here now will just put strain on essential services at a time when we least need it. I am concerned by reports that people are seeing Devon and Cornwall as good locations to see out the lockdown.

"That is not the case, people are safer in their primary residences, where they are registered with medical practices and have support networks. The 1.7m residents of Devon and Cornwall will also be safer if people stay away.”

There are a number of exemptions which allow some holiday accommodation businesses to remain open, for example, to provide accommodation for key workers, NHS staff and for health and care use.

The commissioner said she had been heartened by examples like that of the Carnmarth Hotel in Newquay, which has been providing a place to stay for hospital leavers.

She added: "Now I am asking other accommodation providers or those who have second homes to consider letting key workers such as NHS staff or police officers to stay in their properties.

"NHS or police workers are being moved around as part of the response to this crisis so could make good use of any empty holiday properties."

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