Sign appears in seaside town telling outsiders ‘if you don’t live here f*** off’

A sign telling out-of-towners to "f*** off" has been removed from a seaside beauty spot.

More than half of all properties in Southwold, Suffolk are second homes, many of which are owned by celebrities who frequent the picturesque town.

David Tennant, Michael Palin and Dame Judi Dench have all been spotted holidaying there, although not during the coronavirus pandemic.

But the lockdown hasn't stopped others from travelling to Southwold and breaking travel restrictions, prompting police to issue a warning against it.

Residents have complained about a wave of visitors every time new Covid-19 measures are brought into force, undermining their ability to keep the community safe.

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Fed up locals have since taken matters into their own hands, installing a cardboard sign reading "If you don't live around here, f*** off" on a lamp post at the edge of town.

Town councillor David Beavan said the bluntly worded warning was "ill-advised".

"I understand people are frightened and frustrated but we need to be a bit more polite about it," he said.

"It smacks of xenophobia and that's not what we're about. We just want to keep safe.

"People are naturally worried and anxious about protecting their family and friends.

"We need the small minority to be aware that they are causing this resentment."

The sign has since been taken down.

At the beginning of lockdown last year, Southwold residents strung a banner across the high street that read: "Please respect us – don't infect us."

But the town's significant number of homeowners who maintain a second property there have fought back, claiming the tiny settlement would be a ghost town without holiday homes.

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Southwold has just 1,098 permanent residents, and its population more than doubles over the summertime.

Last week Mr Beavan warned holiday homeowners they weren't welcome as England entered its third lockdown with rules prohibiting all non-essential travel.

"We know the people who are breaking the rules," he said.

"You can't hide in a town like Southwold."

The councillor added the police had been "really good" about responding quickly to reports of social distancing violations.

"I know of holiday lets being used for NHS workers, and the owners of those homes have contacted me to let me know. That's the way it should be," he said.

"We rely on tourism – and we will welcome people back – but breaking of the rules by the small minority needs to be stamped out."

Seaside towns were packed out with hordes of sunshine-seekers ignoring travel bans over summer, prompting a "major incident" to be declared in Bournemouth in June.

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