Competitors arriving in Sandwich for golf Open

Keith Lawford's Sweets display
Image caption Keith Lawford said his golf sweets window display had attracted a lot of interest

Competitors have begun arriving in Kent for The Open Golf Championship, which is expected to attract about 180,000 visitors to the Sandwich area.

Four practice days are being held, with the tournament taking place at the Royal St George's from 14 to 17 July.

Traders in Sandwich have been advised to open early in the morning and late in the evening to gain maximum benefit.

"They are welcome to have a siesta if they wish," said David Foley of Thanet and East Kent Chamber of Commerce.

"But for heaven's sake, be open early and be open late. Many of those visitors will be coming early in the morning and leaving after five o'clock."

Visit Kent recorded 182,585 spectators and £17.6m additional spending when the Open was last held in Kent in 2003.

Sweet shop owner Keith Lawford has a golf course display made of sweets in his window.

"It has generated a lot of interest from people walking past," he said.

"We had Phil Mickelson in the other day for an ice cream, so things are going well."

Image caption Parking restrictions will be in place in Sandwich from Monday to Sunday

Jeweller Kim Wood said he was planning to have a couple of late nights.

"We are here to support the town," he said.

Kent Police has reminded visitors not to leave valuables in their cars and that mobile phones and cameras are not allowed on the course.

'"Keep your valuables out of sight and don't leave them unattended - where possible, leave them at home," said Supt Martin Very, who is based in Sandwich for the event.

"We are also reminding motorists not to drive when under the influence of alcohol or drugs and to stay calm in traffic and anticipate delays."

Drivers heading to The Open Championship are being advised by police to use the M2/A2 rather than the M20 even if their sat navs tell them otherwise.

A park and ride facility will be open off the A256 at Barville Farm from 0630 BST on Tuesday.

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