Purbeck Police has issued penalty notices to a group that travelled from Coventry to visit Lulworth in Dorset, in breach of current Covid legislation.
The people who travelled down in two cars over the weekend, were questioned by the police and fined after it had emerged that they had driven approximately 170 miles to get to the beauty spot, despite the lockdown rules.
This follows months of problems for Dorset as some people have continued to drive long distances to visit the county during previous lockdowns.
Stopping drivers heading towards Swanage
Police forces across England are stepping up patrols in response to the latest lockdown crisis. On Saturday 9th January 2021 Purbeck Police was stopping and questioning drivers heading towards Corfe Castle and Swanage to ensure their journeys were essential.
Lulworth Estate said:
“A gentle reminder that we are in a national lockdown. If you are not local, please resist the urge to drive to Durdle Door, Lulworth or any site outside of your immediate vicinity for exercise.
“The police issued fines when these two car loads of people had driven all the way from Coventry this weekend.
“The car park was practically empty all weekend and thus, on the whole, the vast majority of people are sticking to the rules. Thanks to those who have shown restraint.”
Bournemouth at the weekend
Over in Bournemouth at the weekend, Dorset Police issued at least seven fixed penalty notices to individuals for breaching the coronavirus regulations. In addition to this, more than 10 section 35 dispersal orders were issued. This was in response to a group of people protesting about the lockdown rules.
Chief constable for Dorset Police, James Vaughan said:
“I condemn the actions of these selfish individuals who knowingly flouted the lockdown restrictions to carry out this protest activity. Their reckless actions come at a time when our county is facing its highest number of cases since the beginning of this pandemic.
“Nationally and locally the situation is dire. On Friday alone at least 68,000 people contracted the virus in the UK and tragically 1,325 people died.
“Our NHS colleagues in Dorset are struggling to cope with the demand being placed upon them and are putting themselves at risk every day to protect the lives of others. The number of people in Dorset’s hospitals battling coronavirus has doubled since New Year’s Eve and it is anticipated we have not yet reached the peak.
“Our county is gripped with infections and yet these irresponsible individuals have ignored what is being asked of them and have left their homes to protest. Shame on them.
“Busy morning patrolling most of Purbeck”
Following the weekend’s activity, Purbeck Police continued its patrols around the area. On Monday 11th January 2021 one of the officers reported:
“I’ve had a busy morning patrolling most of Purbeck, including Kimmeridge, Studland, Swanage, Lulworth and Durdle Door. Happy to see the roads and car parks clear, and hoping you are all staying safe at this time.”
“No-one wants to be in a lockdown for the third time”
The action by police is in response to the escalation in the number of Covid patients in Dorset’s hospitals. Director of Public Health Dorset, Sam Crowe added:
“No-one wants to be in a lockdown for the third time but unfortunately this is the only choice we have to constrain coronavirus. I don’t believe that anyone with personal experience of just how seriously ill this virus can make people, would be breaching lockdown willingly.
“You can have the virus and spread it without having symptoms. Stay at home means exactly that – no-one should be leaving home unless for essential reasons like shopping for food, care or for exercise. This is the only way that we will break transmission and start to bring our coronavirus cases down.”