Police fine couple for 120-mile trip to see the seals
- Credit: Quintin Lake
A pair who made an 120-mile trip from Northamptonshire to see the seals on the Norfolk coast have been fined for breaking Covid-19 rules.
The couple, a man and woman in their 50s, made the journey from their home in Wellingborough to visit Horsey beach on Thursday, January 7.
Officers carrying out patrols around 4pm yesterday approached the couple in the beach car park after vehicle checks revealed it was registered out-of-county.
Norfolk Constabulary said that more robust enforcement during the third national lockdown was part of a bid to "support their NHS colleagues" who are dealing with soaring numbers of coronavirus cases in the region's hospitals.
A spokesperson added that officers across the county would continue carrying out dedicated "Covid-19 patrols" in town centres and beauty spots to make sure people are following the law and that people should expect to be challenged if they are too far from their home address.
Temporary Assistant Chief Constable Julie Wvendth said: "The 'stay at home' rule is clear. You should only leave your home for a reasonable excuse such as food shopping, care for a vulnerable person or one form of daily exercise."
She added that people must "stay local", no matter how tempting it was "to travel for a change of scene".
Addressing false social media reports, Ms Wvendth explained: "We are not carrying out road blocks to check the reasons for people travelling.
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"Officers will use their discretion, as they routinely do in the course of their duties, when dealing with people who have travelled away from their home.
"We will be proportionate in our approach but if we find people are blatantly breaking the rules, we will issue fines.
"We are almost a year into this pandemic; people know the rules and the risks associated with breaking them."
Robin Buxton, who manages Horsey Gap car park, said that while the facility would remain open, as had been recommended by North Norfolk District Council, there would "certainly be a police presence" making sure that visitors are locals.
He said: "It's good news that people are being fined for this and the police are paying attention.
"The car park is there for locals who need to travel a short distance for their daily exercise. It's not for those coming from afar."