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Seaside visitors fined as vast majority of Britons observe lockdown

UK News | Published:

Officers clamped down on tourists defying Government coronavirus advice.

A message made from pebbles reading ‘Stay Safe’ on a deserted beach in Broadstairs, Kent

Dozens of beachgoers who travelled to the coast over the Easter weekend to soak up the sunshine have been fined.

Police issued more than 50 fixed penalty notices (FPNs) to day-trippers in Brighton, East Sussex, who live outside of the county.

Officers clamped down on tourists defying Government coronavirus advice to stay at home between Good Friday and Easter Sunday, with more than 100 fines in total handed out across the county.

Coronavirus – Mon Apr 13, 2020
Portobello beach, Edinburgh, was quiet (Jane Barlow/PA)

All of the penalties in Brighton on Easter Sunday were given to people visiting from other cities – while the vast majority of residents complied with Government advice and stayed at home.

The force issued a further four fines to people travelling to Camber, on the East Sussex coastline, including a couple from St Albans, Herts, who made a 150-mile round trip for a stroll on the beach.

Officers also rapped a motorcyclist who rode to the beach from Bexley, south-east London.

Meanwhile police in Plymouth, Devon, on Monday issued fines to three members of the same family after they travelled from the capital for a “holiday” to see a cousin.

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The family were followed by a police escort to the A38 after being given a “strong” talking to, the city’s D Section Response emergency unit said.

Officers patrolled routes using ANPR number plate recognition technology to track motorists from out of town.

Coronavirus
A packed Broadstairs beach during the sunny Easter bank holiday weekend in 2019 (top), and a deserted beach on Easter Monday 2020 (Gareth Fuller/Victoria Jones/PA)

Police in Pembrokeshire, on the Welsh coastline, also caught a motorist and passenger driving to the area from Birmingham to collect a motorbike.

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“This is clearly not an essential journey. Fixed penalty notice issued and vehicle turned around,” the force said.

And officers warned that anyone not following essential travel guidance would be fined and ordered to turn back.

Another family from London found themselves reeled in by Devon and Cornwall police after making a 200-mile overnight trip to Torquay for a fishing trip.

But despite the soaring temperatures, popular bank holiday hotspots remained deserted as the majority of the public heeded the Government’s coronavirus advice to stay at home and protect the NHS.

Sussex Police chief constable Giles York praised the “incredible community spirit” across the county”.

He added: “Unfortunately, a small number of people from outside of the county deemed it appropriate to visit the area, and these people were engaged with, explained to and encouraged to go home, with enforcement being a last – but necessary – resort in some cases.

“The number of FPNs we issued represents a tiny proportion of the thousands of interactions with the public over the weekend.

“We are incredibly grateful to our local communities. We appreciate their patience, resilience and respect and ask them to simply continue in that same manner.”

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