Tourists ordered to leave seaside resorts after ignoring 'no staying over' rules

21 May 2020, 13:18

Newquay Police asked people staying overnight in camper vans to leave
Newquay Police asked people staying overnight in camper vans to leave. Picture: Newquay Police Response
Nick Hardinges

By Nick Hardinges

Police have ordered "selfish" tourists to leave crowded seaside resorts in England after ignoring "no staying over" lockdown rules.

Forces in some parts of the country had to move people on from beaches and seaside towns on Wednesday and Thursday as the UK enjoyed some of its best weather so far this year.

Angry locals in Cornwall and Brighton complained about people "blatantly disregarding" public safety measures by sleeping in camper vans and leaving "appalling" amounts of rubbish on the streets.

Officers in Newquay asked tourists to leave while enforcing lockdown restrictions in the early hours of Thursday morning.

In a post on social media, the Newquay Police Response team wrote: "We identified some visitors that had travelled to #Newquay and stayed overnight against @PHE_uk (Public Health England) advice and legislation.

"With engagement, explanation & education they moved on. We love visitors to the town, #comebacklater."

Read more: Launch track and trace now or risk NHS being 'overwhelmed'

Prime Minister Boris Johnson's relaxed lockdown rules allow people to take day trips in their car, however they are not allowed to sleep at the destinations overnight. 

Dr Hilary Jones of Good Morning Britain criticised people who flout lockdown rules this morning, saying they "make a mockery" of systems put in place to stop the spread of coronavirus

He said: "If you test positive for Covid-19, and a contact tracer says 'where have you been in the last few days' and you say 'I was on the beach in Bournemouth or Southend-on-Sea amongst those crowds', how do you know who was next to you?

"You can't possibly trace people, and that's the problem, isn't it?

"So when people start flouting social distancing rules, and we go out and lockdown in this kind of way, you can't trace those people."

Read more: EasyJet to resume flights from 22 UK airports from mid-June

Where I parked up in Brighton last night, I had three camper vans behind me, & two caravans. I went to bed around 12, &...

Posted by Simon Mottram on Wednesday, 20 May 2020

Simon Mottram from Brighton questioned tourists after reportedly seeing camper vans staying in the city overnight.

"Where I parked up in Brighton last night, I had three camper vans behind me, & two caravans. I went to bed around 12, & they were still there, but woke up this morning and the caravans had gone," he wrote.

"All of the said vehicles had children in. Looks like they will be heading to the beach, whilst I am working. Surely people aren’t that thick, that they don’t know the rules."

One Nottingham resident wrote on Twitter: "Appalling amount of rubbish at Colwick Country Park this morning. I picked up two barbecue trays, including this one that had been broken up and left in a bag by a bench.

"These were metres away from geese and goslings."

Read more: Staycations might be allowed in July if spread of coronavirus can be kept down

Devon and Cornwall Police said traffic was "exceptionally busy" on Wednesday, with officers reporting that every set of double yellow lines across a mile stretch of beach had been parked on as several car parks were closed to control numbers.

One officer said that "valuable resources" were being used to marshal traffic, adding elderly people would be "very anxious over the selfish actions of these individuals," according to the Mail Online.

There were also reports that some traffic wardens even ran out of tickets.

The UK experienced its hottest temperatures on Wednesday, with Brits flocking to beaches and parks to enjoy the glorious weather.

But questions were raised over social distancing measures as people met to relax and bask in the sunshine.

The government's official advice for England states that people can now meet with one other person who is not from their household in a park or open space, but that social distancing rules of two metres must be upheld.

In Wales, the advice is still to stay home except for very limited purposes and gatherings of more than two people in public are not allowed.

However, videos on Southend beach appeared to show sunbathers enjoying their new-found freedom without social distancing.

Mark Johnson, who owns a deckchair company in Southend, told LBC News: "We've only just opened again on Sunday because people were still scared and cautious.

"But it's getting gradually better, slowly but surely, people are getting more confident with the social distancing.

"People are adhering to it pretty well. There's a few people, less busy than normal, about 50 per cent of what it can be, but it's decent considering the circumstances.

"98 per cent are adhering to social distancing but you will always get the idiots unfortunately."

Local councils urged people to stick to social distancing and reminded the public that facilities such as outdoor pools and public toilets remained closed.

Officers patrolled popular beauty spots and parks to ensure people abided by the government’s guidance.

Tourist spots also asked people to stay away, with many attractions remaining closed and the majority of beaches not being serviced by lifeguards.

Meanwhile, Welsh Police have urged people not to visit the country for their daily exercise over the Bank Holiday weekend or they will risk being fined under Welsh legislation.

With the restrictions eased in England, there are worries that some people could be tempted to cross the border and travel into Wales.

A spokesperson for North Wales Police said: "Residents outside Wales are being reminded that the travel restrictions lifted in England do not apply here – and anyone travelling into Wales will be subject to Welsh legislation.

"Travelling to a holiday home is not essential travel."

It comes as the maximum fine for repeated breaches of coronavirus lockdown rules in Wales is set to rise from £120 to £1,920 ahead of the weekend.

Welsh Police are urging people to stay at home over the Bank Holiday weekend
Welsh Police are urging people to stay at home over the Bank Holiday weekend. Picture: Getty

First Minister Mark Drakeford announced that from Friday, people caught committing their sixth offence will be fined almost £2,000.

Beforehand, the charge would rise from £60 to just £120 after the first breach.

But from now on, it will double every time up to the sixth offence, and subsequent breaches will each attract a fine of £1,920.

The Welsh government has said the fines will be a last resort and hope they will act as a deterrent to anyone thinking of breaking the lockdown.

Wales' four police forces have emphasised that people cannot travel into the country for their daily exercise, following reports of a number of such occurrences over the last week.

In England, fines start at £100 but are lowered to £50 if paid within 14 days. Fines double for each repeat offence, up to a maximum of £3,200.

More than 1,300 penalty notices have been issued in Wales since the lockdown restrictions were introduced at the end of March.

Going out to exercise is one of the valid reasons for people to leave their homes in Wales, however it should be local and people should adhere to social distancing measures.

It should not involve people driving significant distances to a location away from their homes to places like beauty spots, beaches and the countryside.

The advice in Wales remains to 'Stay at Home, Protect the NHS, Save Lives'.

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