Police investigate Southwold sign swearing at visitors to stay away

Southwold Covid visitor warning sign

The sign in Southwold was swiftly removed after its discovery - Credit: Marcin Jakub

Police have confirmed officers are investigating after a crudely-worded sign warning outsiders to stay away appeared on a lamppost in Southwold.

A handwritten cardboard banner was placed near the mini roundabout at the junction of Station Road and Pier Avenue at some point between January 9 and the following day.

The sign, which ordered non-residents to keep out of the seaside town, was removed swiftly after its discovery and reported to police on January 12.

Suffolk police has now confirmed it is investigating the incident and has urged any witnesses to come forward.

A spokesman for Suffolk police said: "At some point between January 9 and January 10, a cardboard sign was attached to a street light on a mini roundabout at the A1095 junction with Pier Avenue, Southwold.

"We are still appealing for witnesses and enquiries are very much ongoing."

Southwold is a popular destination with second home owners - many of whom are from London - and several residents have reported a surge in visitors to the Suffolk coast whenever new coronavirus restrictions are introduced.

David Beavan, town and district councillor for Southwold, previously said the cardboard sign "smacks of xenophobia" and insisted the message does not represent the views of the majority of residents.

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Mr Beavan has previously been vocal about his concern of an influx of second home owners to the town throughout the pandemic, which has prompted fears that Covid-19 could spread among the resort's permanent population.

Last April, Mr Beavan and fellow councillor Simon Flunder displayed huge signs reading "please respect us - don't infect us" on the town hall and on the A12.

Southwold town councillors Simon Flunder and David Beavan with the banner protesting against visitor

Southwold councillors Simon Flunder and David Beavan with a sign urging to visitors to stay away - Credit: Archant

East Suffolk Council has also recently issued guidance urging people to refrain from travelling and to stay away from the coast's beauty spots, even for exercise.

While Mr Beavan said he did not approve of the sign, he wished people would continue to follow government lockdown rules.

He added: "The sign was taken down straight away.

"But I'm still trying to get the small minority of people to stop coming here."

Anyone with information related to the placement of the sign or who witnessed anything suspicious is urged to contact Suffolk police, quoting crime reference number 37/1862/21.

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