DETECTIVES are probing a vendetta against a Port Isaac hotel owner which has revealed his criminal past to residents.
Anonymous e-mails have been sent to villagers along with computer discs exposing Paul Williams, 56, as a convicted conman.
Posters have also appeared in the village revealing that Mr Williams, who runs the Bay Hotel, served an 18-month jail term in 2006 after defrauding elderly people of cash by pretending to be a clairvoyant.
The hotel has been featured regularly in the Doc Martin TV series starring Martin Clunes, and appears in the show as Wenn House.
Mr Williams has also claimed to have been a drummer with the band Dexy's Midnight Runners, and named his Great Dane Gino, after their hit song Geno. The dog has been adopted by Port Isaac RNLI, and helps raise funds for the local lifeboat station.
Mr Williams told the Cornish Guardian yesterday that there was a continuing investigation into a burglary at his hotel in March, and he could not comment specifically on the vendetta against him, but admitted his criminal past.
"Yes, I did do those things, but I have turned my life around, and put all that behind me," he said.
"I was a drug addict and an alcoholic when I committed those offences, but that was in the past, and I'm a very different person now. I came to Port Isaac, where I think I've made a success of my business, and I believe I have a lot of support in the village from the people who count and who really know me.
"I can't believe that anyone would drag up my past like this. It's been very difficult, I've lost two stones in weight since all this started in the village. What I did was wrong, I know, but that was a long time ago and I can't believe this has happened now.
"My hotel was burgled on March 24, and that and other things that have happened are the subject of a police investigation, so I can't discuss who I think may be responsible for the campaign against me," he said.
Port Isaac RNLI chairman Bob Bulgin, one of the people who has received the anonymous computer discs, said he had no idea where they had originated.
"As far as the RNLI is concerned, we have no issue with Paul," he said.
"He offered to help with fundraising using Geno, and so far Geno has raised £2,500 for the RNLI, and we are very grateful for Paul's assistance."
A spokesman for Bodmin CID said: "We are aware of what's happening in Port Isaac and it's part of an ongoing investigation."