Despite numerous warnings to day-trippers to not visit North Yorkshire this weekend, police have confirmed that they have issued 61 fines this weekend to people who were not following government guidance and were making unnecessary journeys.
31 fines were issued on Saturday to people visiting from West Yorkshire, Lancashire, Cumbria and as far away as Kent. 17 fines were issued in Malham alone – with 13 being written in an hour, as day-trippers thronged to the North Yorkshire village.
A further 30 fines were issued on Sunday, with officers issuing six fines in Brotherton to people gathering to go off-road biking. Other unnecessary journeys included a man travelling from Yarm to Wakefield to pick up paint and two men travelling to Bradford to view a car.
Speaking about this weekend’s enforcement Assistant Chief Constable Mike Walker said: “Up until this weekend, the vast majority of both residents and visitors to North Yorkshire have acted responsibly and in accordance to government guidance and abided by the rules around only travelling for essential reasons.
“However, we are definitely starting to see a turning of the tide in some areas, with some blatantly ignoring the reason why we have been in a lockdown situation for the past five weeks and making a decision to no longer stay home and save lives.
“When it comes down to it, that’s what we are trying to do here – save lives. We are trying to stop the spread of a deadly virus which has, as this time, claimed the lives of over 20,000 people in this country and thousands more worldwide. The police have their role to play in protecting both the public of North Yorkshire from the spread of COVID-19 and our valuable health service and we remain fully committed to continuing this task.
“However, we need the support of the public and for some to realise and understand why they are being asked to continue to abide by the stay home rules. This virus is not yet beaten, the threat of a second peak of infection is very real, as we have heard from the Prime Minister himself this morning. That’s why we must keep on going – to protect our love ones; our children, partners, parents, grandparents, brothers and sisters.
“As I have previously mentioned, this is not about finding loopholes in the guidance to justify having a day out. This is about keeping your elderly, vulnerable grandmother safe, your asthmatic child safe or your diabetic father safe. So please think about why it’s important to you personally to stop the spread of this virus. Think about the personal reason, or the family member you are staying home for and if you can’t do it for the health and safety of the nation, please do it for them.”