Around 70 beachgoers have been issued with Penalty Charge Notices after parking illegally in Woolacombe.

Traffic jamming the roads at Woolacombe. Picture: Richard WaldenTraffic jamming the roads at Woolacombe. Picture: Richard Walden

North Devon’s beaches were hit with a huge surge in traffic on the hottest day of the year so far.

Drivers have been abandoning their cars and causing gridlock, blocking access for the overworked emergency services, and Barnstaple Police warned on twitter: “Traffic wardens are running out of tickets. Do not abandon your cars. Emergency vehicles can’t get though! They will be towed away! ”

Devon County Council confirmed that around 70 Penalty Charge Notices have been issued for illegally parked motorists on Challacombe Hill.

A spokesman added: “A huge number of people have decided to park illegally on Challacombe Hill in Woolacombe today, leaving their cars on a clearway where parking is prohibited at all times.

Police are on the scene in Woolacombe. Picture: Richard WaldenPolice are on the scene in Woolacombe. Picture: Richard Walden

“Access has to be maintained for emergency vehicles on this stretch of road and around 70 Penalty Charge Notices have been issued. Police have been helping move vehicles on to keep the road clear.”

Ilfracombe and Braunton Police added: “Roads towards the North Devon coast are now gridlocked. There are no amenities open or toilets. We have vehicles from all over the country identified, please do not travel here. We will still be here when this is over so come back when it’s safe to do so.”

While Devon County Council had suspended issues PCNs to anyone flouting parking restrictions in on-street pay & display, limited waiting bays and residents’ parking areas, ‘no waiting’ restrictions, including single yellow lines and double yellow lines, have had to be enforced throughout lockdown.