POLICE Scotland has criticised the BBC after the broadcaster warned tourists off visiting Skye.

The corporation claimed the island’s annual Highland games had left the tourist hotspot ram-packed, and that police were telling visitors without accommodation to stay away.

But yesterday the force said the Beeb had gone too far, and that they were only asking those contemplating a trip over the sea to Skye to use some common sense.In an article online, the BBC had written: “Skye is bursting at the seams. So much so that Police Scotland has advised visitors to stay away from the island unless they have a reservation.”

Police Scotland said they would never issue advice like this.

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.”

The island cop said dozy tourists who found themselves without a bed for the night would often knock on his door asking his officers to “phone round hotels and B&Bs to try and find them accommodation”.

He added: “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.”

Paul Wood, from the West Highland Free Press, criticised the BBC’s story.

Writing on Twitter he said: “This kind of sensationalism will do the island no favours at all.

“Skye does not have too many tourists.

“People visiting Skye is a good thing, and as we’ve reported ad nauseam, it’s underinvested infrastructure at the root of current problems.”

Recently, one local businessman called for a “tourist tax” to help pay for that infrastructure.

Though others on the island, including Shirley Spear from The Three Chimneys restaurant, dismissed the call, saying it was for local and central government to step up.

Andrew Martin, the director of the Scottish Centre of Tourism at Robert Gordon’s University, said tourism remained very important and very positive for Skye and for Scotland as a whole, but that the industry desperately needed to be thinking more long term.

“Tourism refreshes parts of Scotland that other industries can’t reach. That’s still fair for the Highlands and the islands,” the academic told The National.

“What we need for 2017, 18, 19, and so on is a sustainable tourism industry. That means an industry that is high quality that we’re not going to wear out.”

He added that unless more was done to protect the “pinch points” where there were huge amounts of tourists, and no adequate resources, it could start to have a detrimental effect on the industry.

“My fear is that if people coming here are having a less than optimal experience then the word of mouth is going to be lost.”

The island, long popular with tourists, has recently featured in Holywood blockbusters including The BFG, Prometheus and Michael Fassbender’s Macbeth, as well as in a recent Harry Styles music video.

This month experts believe the population of 10,000 will soar to more than 70,000.

Previously, Ian Blackford, SNP leader at Westminster and the MP for Ross, Skye, and Lochaber, said: “The sheer numbers who come on to the island can stretch the resources available. Something must be done to help cater for both locals and tourists in easing the burden on the infrastructure.”