TV chefs Rick Stein and Jamie Oliver have been threatened by a little-known Cornish extremist group trying to force them out of the county.

The so-called Cornish National Liberation Army (CNLA) sent an email to the Plymouth newspaper Western Morning News claiming that Stein's "vehicle and those of his clients are bona fide targets for our activists".

Mr Stein was described as an "English newcomer" in the email and it blamed Jamie Oliver for "the inflation of house and other living costs at Cornish expense".

Mr Oliver has opened one of his Fifteen brand of restaurants in the county which helps to train disadvantaged youngsters in the region and makes no profit for the TV chef.

Mr Stein has a number of business interests in Cornwall and owns a restaurant, a hotel and a fish and chip shop in the port town of Padstow.

The email said it was "common knowledge" that Mr Stein and his businesses were "held in contempt" by locals living in Padstow.

Devon and Cornwall police said threats would be thoroughly investigated and that it was taken seriously.

A spokesperson said the force took "very seriously any threats to commit criminal offences against individual, business, public service or the Crown".

It is believed the group is linked to previous movements calling for Cornish independence from England.

Graffiti from a previous group, the Cornish Liberation Army, can still be seen on bridges over roads in the county with references to An Gof - another separatist group.

14/06/2007 09:36:28