Our picturesque seaside town is being invaded by outsiders who leave rubbish and poo on sand…council can’t stop them | The Sun

Our picturesque seaside town is being invaded by outsiders who leave rubbish and poo on sand…council can’t stop them | The Sun

July 26, 2023

LOCALS living in a picturesque seaside town say it's being invaded by outsiders who leave rubbish and poo on the sand.

Those living near Berry Head, Torbay, Devon, have told of their horror after being forced to tidy up the beachfront.

Fishing gangs have taken over and blighted the scenic spot with cops even being called out to move them on.

Despite the council issuing a protection order for the land – banning camping, barbecuing, littering, antisocial behaviour and over fishing – large groups still descend and ignore the rules.

And one nearby resident has been forced to clear up the aftermath for the last four years.

Ian Chatterton said the littering is awful but the culprits are also extremely confrontational when anyone approaches them.


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He told DevonLive: "It's frustrating. I've been doing this for four years and it all started because I came across a bird dying all wrapped up in fishing gear and I had to dispatch it because it was that far gone.

"When I looked around I couldn't believe how many hooks and lines and other rubbish there was so I walked home and got some bags and I went back.

"I've been doing it ever since."

He added: "It's quite confrontational. I've got them in my face and you've got to be careful.

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"They flick pistachio nuts at you, sunflower seeds and then they start casting over your line and talk in their lingo with groups of men behind your back.

"You just don't want to be there."

Tristan Northway, a fisherman who also helps tackle the mess, said an abandoned quarry house nearby has even been turned into a toilet.

He said: "Disturbingly, they have transformed the abandoned Quarry house into a makeshift toilet, leaving their excrement behind.

"Furthermore, they have recently begun 'prospecting' the rocks for specific minerals and even gather smaller rocks to throw at seals."

Concerns are starting to mount as well for the wildlife living in the area too, which is part of the UNESCO Geopark of Torbay.

The sealife is getting wrapped up in litter and protected horseshoe bats are being disrupted by the lights from the gangs, says Tristan.

He added: "The situation becomes even more concerning as some of the seals have suffered injuries due to the actions of these individuals.

"On one occasion, I even had to intervene and escort a group of individuals off the Quarry premises, who had brought homemade lobster pots with them.

"It is disheartening to witness the complete disregard for the scientific significance of the area."

Because of the protection order, police have been forced to intervene- fining some people £100 on the spot.

However, locals said it doesn't deter the groups.

They are now urging the council to charge people to fish in the area – which would then pay for a clean-up crew.

A Torbay Council spokesperson said they are constantly reviewing the order and doing everything they can to help the area.

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They said: "A Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) is in place for the area which is constantly being reviewed.

"We are aiming to liaise with our partners to formulate a long-term management plan for the area."

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