Police have warned holidaymakers that Devon and Cornwall are FULL - after dealing with the highest number of incidents ever, writes Tom Bevan.

Devon and Cornwall Police has issued a desperate call for communities and tourists to respect the region after a weekend which saw record 999 calls.

There was also a huge spike in the level of anti-social behaviour and public order incidents as visitors flock to the south-west for a staycation.

Even previously calm areas such as Salcombe, Devon, known as Chelsea-on-Sea, have seen an influx of anti-social behaviour from groups of youngsters who might previously have gone to somewhere like Greece or Spain.

Over the last weekend the force says it saw 2,301 999 calls - compared to 1,819 in the same period for 2019, representing an increase of 26.5 per cent.

And up to August 10, this month has already seen 9,622 999 calls received - significantly up on the 12 month rolling daily average of 718 999 calls per day.

The force has also seen use of online webchat demand more than double.

Devon and Cornwall Police said: "The message from police, partner and agencies and tourism bosses is clear - Devon and Cornwall is largely full to current capacity, so book ahead before you travel."

Assistant Chief Constable Jim Colwell added: "We have seen some unprecedented demand at the weekend, particularly in our control rooms, but I am immensely proud how all of our frontline staff have dealt with the plethora of different incidents they have attended.

"While resourcing is undoubtedly a challenge at this time of year, this summer appearing to be more than previous years, we remain buoyant and our communities and visitors alike can be reassured we will do our utmost to protect them and provide a first class service.

"Our regular officers and staff have been going above and beyond to carry out their duties and have been very ably assisted by our colleagues in the Devon & Cornwall Special Constabulary who have given more than 7,000 hours of voluntary service since June - more than 1,000 shifts supporting frontline duties."

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In addition to extra 999 call demand, Devon and Cornwall also saw significant increases in anti-social behaviour and public order incidents over the last weekend.

There was 31 reports of environmental ASB - leaving of rubbish, disposable barbeques and other waste. Also 191 reports of nuisance ASB and a further 102 reports of personal ASB - often drink related. This equates to 67 per cent increase on all types of ASB on the same period in 2019.

ACC Colwell added: "We want to welcome tourists safely back in to our communities and support a restart to our essential tourism economy.

"But that needs to be done respectfully by everyone and the levels of ASB recorded over the weekend are unacceptably high. We understand people want to enjoy what our region has to offer, but please do this safely and within the law, otherwise police will take proactive enforcement action to protect others.

"August so far has also seen public order crimes up by almost 25 per cent on this time last year. Again, we want people to be able to enjoy the good weather and reopened hospitality sector, but that has to be done responsibly - everyone must accept that personal responsibility and play their part."

With further good weather expected over the coming weekend and planning already underway for increased numbers over the August Bank Holiday Weekend, ACC Colwell has called on tourists to think before they travel to our region.

He said: "Come safely and prepared to Devon and Cornwall and you will be welcomed.

"Book your accommodation before you travel, drive safely on our roads, respect our coasts and drink responsibly.

"If you are visiting the many outstanding areas of natural beauty we have, take your rubbish away and play your part in making Devon and Cornwall and a safe place for our residents and tourists alike.

"If you do need police support, the 999 service is always there for matters of life and death and serious emergency - we will always be there to assist you."