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Coronavirus: ‘Armed officers’ sent to check Cornwall holiday let

A holiday home owner has complained to the police watchdog after he said armed officers were sent to check he was complying with lockdown rules.

Shaun Pritchard, from Cornwall, said sending officers with guns was “heavy handed” and “alarming”.

He has also accused Devon and Cornwall Police of breaching procedural rules by entering his property without permission or a warrant.

The force said it attended the property on 11 June but no arrests were made.

A spokesperson said the complaint to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) had been passed to the Devon and Cornwall Police Professional Standards Department to progress.

Mr Pritchard, who rents out a holiday home in St Newlyn East, said he had guests staying when the lockdown was announced in March.

He said he contacted police for advice and the guests left a few days later.

Since then key workers including a nurse and military personnel have stayed in the property for short periods but Mr Pritchard said it had mostly been empty.

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Devon and Cornwall Police said it attended the property on 11 June

Mr Pritchard said he had been reported to the police and his girlfriend Anna Sheppard had been subjected to verbal abuse in the street.

“The local community that I live in are not really fans of holiday lets,” he said.

Mr Pritchard, who is a key worker, said he received two visits from police and had been checked on by the council twice, prior to what he said were armed officers coming to his property.

He said the two officers gained access to his property without consent via another property’s private access.

In his complaint to the IOPC, Mr Pritchard wrote: “On this occasion we feel that this is now a matter of harassment.

“We are extremely concerned that on the most recent occasion, police felt it expedient to send two armed officers for an alleged breach of a holiday let being open.”

Mr Pritchard asked for an explanation of what reason under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act the officers had “to enter the property without warrant or being invited”.

He said the visit had been “disconcerting” and he was concerned because one of the officers said they would be back to check again – a measure he said was unnecessary given three visits to the property had resulted in no breaches of legislation being found.

A Devon and Cornwall Police spokesman said: “While complaints are under review, we are unable to comment further.”

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www.bbc.com

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