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Police set up COVID checkpoints to catch lockdown flouters looking to bask in sun

Rebecca Speare-Cole
·4-min read
RETRANSMITTED CORRECTING SPELLING OF CARMARTHENSHIRE Welsh police pull over cars at a checkpoint during firebrake vehicle patrols close to the border between Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire, Wales. First Minister Mark Drakeford will unveil new national coronavirus measures for Wales on Monday.
Police are pulling over cars to check if their journies are essential. (PA)

Police across the country have been setting up checkpoints and patrolling beauty spots to catch lockdown flouters as Brits try to soak up the sunny weather.

It comes as the Met Office recorded highs of 13C on the second day of sunshine in the UK.

Over the weekend, crowds have been pictured enjoying the sunshine despite warnings from the deputy chief medical officer the pandemic isn’t over.

Some of the images taken may concern Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, who cautioned that the country should not yet “relax” in the battle against COVID-19, adding that cases are rising in one of five areas in the UK.

A police officer speaks to people in Scarborough, North Yorkshire, during England's third national lockdown to curb the spread of coronavirus. Picture date: Sunday February 28, 2021.
A police officer speaks to people in Scarborough, North Yorkshire, during England's third national lockdown to curb the spread of coronavirus. (PA)

Pictures showed significant crowds in areas such as Barry, London, Scarborough, Bournemouth, Devon and Brighton.

Read: People flock to parks and beaches to enjoy sunshine despite COVID warning

Current lockdown rules state people can exercise outside either by themselves, with the people they live with, among their support bubble if this is permitted or, when on their own, with one person from another household.

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South Wales Police officers have been pulling over motorists heading to Barry to find out if their journey is essential.

They warned: "We've received numerous reports of crowds of people at beaches and other beauty spots across South Wales.

"Please remember that Welsh Government restrictions state that exercise should start and finish at your home – you shouldn’t be driving to these places.

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"We are working alongside local councils to close some car parks, and will be stopping cars to check whether the journey is essential.”

The force added that they were doing their best to enforce the rules but they can’t be everywhere all the time and, “it’s up to us all to do the right thing”.

A community support officer speaks to people enjoying the sunshine on Brighton beach in Sussex. Picture date: Sunday February 28, 2021.
A community support officer speaks to people enjoying the sunshine on Brighton beach in Sussex. (PA)

In Brighton and Hove, police officers have been seen questioning groups of people sitting on the beach and the seafront.

Brighton and Hove Police wrote on Twitter: "It's a beautiful day, the sun is shining. However, please be mindful of Covid restrictions that are in place. Is your journey essential? If not stay home, stay safe.

Watch: COVID-19: Sunshine brings crowds out - but SAGE expert warns we could jeopardise progress

The force added: "Officers are out on patrol today, engaging with the public and reinforcing the current national lockdown measures. With the finish line in sight, let's not drop the ball now."

In London, parks and the River Thames embankment were crowded with people while Newcastle saw thousands of people walking along the quayside in the sunshine.

A group of people were even handed fines last night outside Buckingham Palace.

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A police officer tweeted: "This car was stopped next to Buckingham Palace last night on our way in from deployment.

"There were three occupants, all from different households, who had driven from the Midlands to see the sights.

"They were sent home with fixed penalty notices for Covid breaches."

Since January 4, Brits have not been allowed to leave their home to meet anyone outside their household.

Watch: How England will leave lockdown