Furious beachgoers in Cornwall have slammed a group of tourists who used tents and wind-breaks to cordon off a large section of a public beach.
The ‘encampment’ appeared early on Wednesday morning on Porthmeor Beach in St Ives and at first appeared to have no one using the space.
Six tents surrounded by wind-breaks hogged part of the popular beach throughout the day, with angry locals saying it was "beyond a joke".
The tents remained on the beach all day on Thursday.
Beachgoer Debra Palfreyman, who has been holidaying in St Ives for nearly 30 years, took a picture of the scene on Wednesday at 8.45am.
Posting it on Facebook, she said: “Any ideas what this is on Porthmeor today? I think the immigration camp from Calais has moved here!”
Debra, who is from South Yorkshire, told Cornwall Live : “We got to Porthmeor Beach yesterday at about 8.45am and that was the sight that greeted us.
“All set up and no one around. It actually increased by two more tents and wind-breaks after I had taken the picture.
“It appeared to be lots of family members/friends, although none of us could work out why they needed so many tents or how they could talk to each other being so far apart.”
Angered locals took to social media to slam the encampment, with some calling it "beyond a joke" and others calling it "selfish".
Another reader said online: "….the biggest issue is you can’t see your children playing because of all the walls and they can’t see you.
"Also trying to get to the cafe/toilets or simply get off the beach is a nightmare as you can’t get through with a buggy. It’s not even windy or cold at the momen."
But another added: "I was on Porthmeor yesterday all day till 8pm. There was plenty of space for visitors and locals."
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In a St Ives community group, one person wrote: "As a kid we used to dig a trench and build a little wall of sand around our space which had family and friends in maybe up to 15 + but this does seem a little excessive."
Eyewitness Jeff Reines, head of content at Cornwall Live, said: "It was such a precision, almost regimental operation, it couldn’t have been the first time.
"I can see how it might be seen as obnoxious if there was more pressure on space.
"And some may feel the very act itself engenders some sort of haughty sense of entitlement that could get locals’ backs up… but I honestly can’t see getting that worked up about it myself.
"I’d take them anytime over a party of lager-swilling, chanting blokes with their swimsuits halfway down their bums."
It is thought the tourists in the encampment were English tourists on holiday in Cornwall, and have now left the area.
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