Numerous complaints have been made regarding adult male asylum seekers allegedly following and harassing young girls in the rural English county of Cornwall.
A social media post went viral from a concerned mother who claimed her 11-year-old daughter and her friends had been harassed by a group of adult men in the town of Penzance.
Posting along with the photograph below, the mother wrote: “These four delightful men have been following my 11-year-old daughter and her friends around Penzance taking photos of them.
“They tried to get on the same bus as the girls but luckily the bus drove off. I am reporting it to the police. Share away please to keep our youngsters safe,” she added.
The incident was reported to the local police who located the group and spoke with them about their behavior.
“Police were called on Jan. 7 with a report of suspicious behavior by a group of men in Penzance town center. Three young girls were reportedly followed by the men on Jan. 4,” said a spokesperson for Devon and Cornwall Police.
“Following police inquiries, four men were traced and spoken to by officers. The men were extremely apologetic for their actions which they said were not intended to cause distress or any harm,” they added.
The local police said the men “were given strong words of advice about their behavior.”
Similar concerns were shared in the Cornish town of Newquay on Tuesday, where a father complained to the local Newquay Leisure World center about how his daughter had been harassed by a group of foreign-speaking men.
“I’m horrified at the response you have just given my daughter. She is being harassed at your Newquay Better. Stared at, spoken about in a foreign language,” the father wrote on the business’s Facebook page.
“Air dropped phone numbers and images. Watched photos being taken of herself and of the pool with kids swimming…”
He told the leisure center that when the complaint was brought to the attention of staff by his daughter, she was told “there was nothing they can do,” as the men are refugees and have their memberships subsidized by the government.
“l am appalled and disgusted,” he added.
In response, the center said it expects “all members to follow suitable protocols and behave appropriately,” and apologized for the response his daughter received following the complaint. They vowed to urgently address the matter.
Responding to a post from another concerned customer who said she was reluctant about visiting the center in light of the incident, the business insisted it is an “inclusive leisure center” and wants all its members to feel safe, adding it will “not hesitate to implement our exclusion policy to a member if we deem it necessary, and will report crime to the police.”
Like much of the United Kingdom, hotels in Cornwall have been booked up by the U.K. Home Office to accommodate the record number of asylum seekers who entered the country via boats in the English Channel last year.
Britain spending almost £7 million a day on hotels for asylum seekers
The total cost to British taxpayers is now close to exceeding £2.5 billion a year and is likely only to increase as a processing backlog grows
One such example is the Beresford Hotel in Newquay, which is currently closed to the public for exclusive use by asylum seekers.
The Home Office even attempted to rent the Camelot Castle Hotel in the village of Tintagel, offering owner John Mappin £1 million (€1.14 million) to house asylum seekers there for a year, an offer that was refused.
Many local business owners have expressed their concern about the potential decline in tourism as a result of hotel accommodation being used up by asylum seekers, an industry the county heavily relies upon particularly in the summer months.
In November, local Conservative MP Steve Double sought assurances from the Home Office that no Cornish hotels would be used to accommodate asylum seekers “beyond the end of winter so as to not impact on our important tourist season.”