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Don't come to Skye unless you have a room for the night, say police

The Telegraph logo The Telegraph 10/08/2017 By Olivia Rudgard, Social Affairs Correspondent

© Provided by The Telegraph The Isle of Skye is so overrun with tourists that police have now warned people not to come if they haven't booked somewhere to stay. 

Desperate visitors are using the local police force to help them find accommodation - but they say they cannot act as travel agents for hapless holidaymakers. 

Visitors are "regularly" arriving at the station with no hotel organised asking officers to help them find a bed for the night, Police Scotland said. 

Sergeant Bruce Crawford said: "The summer months are an incredibly busy period on Skye and this is obviously good for business but it can create problems, especially with accommodation often at a premium.

"I would never advise people against visiting our beautiful island but I would ask people to use common sense before travelling without booking accommodation in advance if they intend to stay overnight.

"People regularly arrive at the station with nowhere to stay asking for advice and it is simply not possible for police to phone round hotels and B&Bs to try and find them accommodation.

© Provided by The Telegraph "Like everyone else we want visitors to have the best experience possible but I would encourage people, who travel from around the world to see Skye, to plan ahead unless they want to spend a night in their car."

The island, well-known for its natural beauty and medieval castles, has exploded in popularity after it was used as the location for music videos and blockbuster films including The BFG and Prometheus.

Last year US rap artist Kanye West visited the island to film a music video and former member of One Direction Harry Styles also filmed the video for his single Sign of the Times on the island. 

Over the summer its population of 10,000 has been boosted by tourists to reach 60,000, putting services such as waste management under pressure. 

Locals have complained of littering, claiming visitors even leave "human waste" for residents to clean up.

Tourists have also been forced to sleep in their cars as thousands of visitors put a strain on the availability of accommodation. 

Some visitors have rented camper vans to ensure they have somewhere to sleep but many have little experience driving them and have struggled with the island's single-track roads. 

Residents have called for greater funding from the Scottish Government to help them cope, and a local businessman has even suggested that tourists should be charged a £1 fee to cross the Skye Bridge which connects the island with the mainland. 

Roger Booth, who owns a food van at the natural beauty spot the Quiraing, told the BBC: "It would be put into the island economy for better toilets, better waste facilities, better parking facilities and better roads."

However, a local business group criticised the idea, saying that many local businesses depended upon the tourists for their livelihoods. 

David Richardson, Federation of Small Businesses' development manager for the Highlands and Islands, said: "They are our customers and you don't tax your customers."

Related: 2017 Travel Goals For Your Bucket List (provided by Wochit News)

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