Homeless and sleeping in car on the seafront

PUBLISHED: 07:00 29 September 2018

Phillip Smith

Phillip Smith


Living in a car on the seafront, Phillip Smith, 54, is homeless in Sidmouth. He only has the clothes he stands up in.

He’s been sleeping in his car outside the hotels for two and a half months after he was reported to police as a missing person.

“It’s been all right. The car is comfortable enough and it’s warm,” he told the Herald.

“I just go out and walk around. I feel all right when I’m walking into the countryside.”

He claims he has only received one approach by a housing outreach worker but several visits from the police.

On Monday, he returned to find his wheel had been clamped by the DVLA. A sticker in the window said it would be towed away.

“I’m in a bit of a situation. I don’t know what to do about it,” he said.

He said he came to Devon last August to look after his sick mother, 96, in Ottery, after she suffered one and then a second heart attack.

He then moved in with his estranged wife, near Honiton, although she has now returned to her native Italy.

Phillip said he came to Sidmouth because his daughter was living here. She has now joined her mother in Italy but has started putting a small daily allowance into his bank account.

Occasionally passers-by bring him ‘a sausage roll or a cake’. He said he does not drink, take drugs or have mental health issues.

He said he would have taken up an offer of food or clothes or a place to shower and would like to have a proper place to live, especially in the hot weather.

His wife has a house in Exmouth which is currently unfit to live in after it was vandalised.

“I ate something yesterday; when the money comes through, I’ll get some chips,” he said.

He claimed he had a motorbike accident many years ago that left him in a coma and unable to pursue his love of art.

Cecil Weir, of Julian House, the homelessness services provider for East Devon District Council, said: “We offer as much support as we can and very often go the extra mile with everyone we are dealing with, but if they don’t want that support we can’t dragoon them into doing anything they don’t want to do.”

In January 2015, homeless man Tommy Duffy was discovered dead on the seafront, which led to the setting up of the homelessness charity Gateway.

Comments have been disabled on this article.

Other News Stories

Yesterday, 17:05

The body of a man has been found in the river at Newton Poppleford.

Read more
Yesterday, 16:18

The body of a man has been reportedly seen in the river in Newton Poppleford.

Read more
Yesterday, 16:30

Permission is being sought to build houses on land, previously set aside for a new doctors’ surgery in Newton Poppleford.

Read more
Yesterday, 12:00

An elderly couple injured in a serious collision near Sidmouth are inviting those that came to their aid for a cup of tea to say thank you.

Read more
Yesterday, 11:28

A visitor to Sidmouth has admitted to sexually assaulting a woman in the town.

Read more
Yesterday, 11:00

A Sidmouth care home has launched a brand-new support and social group called ‘Wives’ Time’.

Read more
Yesterday, 08:01

A Sidmouth veteran has backed the work of a national charity as part of a campaign to help injured, sick and wounded servicemen get back into work.

Read more
Yesterday, 07:00

Tributes have been paid to a ‘warm’ and ‘caring’ councillor who lost his battle with cancer last month.

Read more
Mon, 16:30

A poignant production about the effect of World War One on two Sidmouth families has raised £1,500 for Sid Valley causes.

Read more
Mon, 12:00

Couples danced the day away at a Sidmouth shop, helping to keep vital air ambulances in the sky with a glitz and glamour afternoon.

Read more

Local Weather



max temp: 9°C

min temp: 6°C

Most read

Useful Links

Family notices
Advertise in the paper
Submit a Story
Submit a Story
Buy Photos
Google Plus Page
Reader Travel

Family Notices 24

Read Online

Read the Sidmouth Herald e-edition E-edition

Newsletter Sign Up

Sidmouth Herald twice-weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Hot Jobs

Show Job Lists

Find planning applications