‘Freeloading’ tourists pretend to be homeless to enjoy free staycation in UK beauty spot

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Numerous campers have been accused of exploiting a loophole allowing rough sleepers to pitch tents along the seafront and promenade in Torquay, Devon. Commonly known as the English Rivera, thousands of tourists flock to the idyllic spot every summer.

And with Covid all-but-stopping international travel, demand for accommodation at UK beauty spots has sent prices skyrocketing.

It appears that this group of “chancers” were determined to enjoy the last of the summer sunshine without having to shell out huge sums.

Unfortunately their actions haven’t gone unnoticed by locals in the seaside town.

Roger Carter, chairman of the Cockington, Chelston and Livermead Community Partnership, said: “This is not about the homeless problem – these people are having a free holiday at the expense of Torbay taxpayers. It’s just not acceptable.

“The toilet block at Corbyn Head is closed – what about personal hygiene? Where are they going to the toilet?

“You’ve got a family beach down below where children are playing in the sand.

“It was bad enough when they were on Corbyn Head, but when I saw them on Princess Gardens I saw red – that’s Torquay’s showcase.

“I have had some strong emails with the leaders of the council. Princess Gardens has recently been refurbished at great cost and to see this is an absolute disgrace.

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“These people are not homeless, but chancers and freeloaders.

“It is an appalling image to present to our visitors and residents – this is not about politics but the buck stops with the council.”

Locals gave a mixed reaction to the claims with some criticising the freeloaders but others believing they have done nothing wrong when faced with huge holiday rates.

Christine Lillicrap wrote on Facebook: “What’s wrong with that? They’re not here buying second homes.

“Perhaps they resent having to pay ridiculous money-grabbing campsites.”

Donna Nightingale added: “If resorts didn’t bump up their prices they wouldn’t be there so good on them, hope they enjoy.”

Clive Hughes wrote: “If not an authorised camping spot, they shouldn’t be there. Once you let one, the next thing it will be like a campsite, but at least it looks clean and tidy for now.”

Torbay Council has been contacted for comment.

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