Barnstaple Town Council has warned it may have to lock its allotments if tenants cannot abide by tenancy agreements and the current coronavirus measures.

The council said it was receiving an ‘increasingly high number’ of emails about its five allotment sites with concerns including trespassers, overgrown allotments, vacant plots, lost padlocks and bonfires.

In a Facebook post, the council said: “Whilst we appreciate that the allotments are important to you, the current situation is restricting how much we can help with any issues you may have but also we have a much greater priority and that is helping and supporting the vulnerable people within Barnstaple during the COVID-19 outbreak.

“If we continue to get negative emails about the conduct of allotment tenants during the outbreak we will have no option but to lock all allotment sites until further notice.”

The council said it would address overgrown and vacant plots once the coronavirus crisis is over, and added most questions are covered in its tenancy agreements.