Local holiday accommodation businesses are being warned that they risk prosecution if they encourage tourists to visit them during Easter and throughout the lockdown period.

The guidance from the government is clear: all holiday accommodation including hotels, hostels, bed and breakfasts, holiday homes, campsites and caravan parks must cease to carry on that business during the emergency period.

North Devon Council has new powers to enforce the shutdown of any businesses that have been ordered to close by the government whilst the country is undergoing lockdown.

Leader of the Council Cllr David Worden says: The message is clear. North Devon is not open for tourism business. Not only is it incredibly irresponsible for people to make non-essential travel, we simply do not have the infrastructure to cope with an increased population. Local supermarkets are under strain and we certainly don't want any extra pressure put on our local NHS. So any holiday accommodation owners that we know of who are encouraging people to come down here on holiday will be forced to shut down. If they refuse, we can prosecute. This may seem harsh but this is about keeping people safe and saving lives."

Anyone who has concerns about any business being open that shouldn't be, they can report it via the NDC website or call Customer Services on 01271 327711.