Lockdown flouters made 100-mile trip to Cotswolds 'as it's hard to shop in London'

Victoria Bell
·4 min read
Police tweeted that the Londoners who travelled to the Cotswolds beauty spot were fined £200 each. (Cotswolds Police)
Police tweeted that the Londoners who travelled to the Cotswolds beauty spot were fined £200 each. (Cotswolds Police)

Londoners who drove to the Cotswolds because “it is very hard to go shopping” in the capital have been issued £200 fines.

The drivers travelled 100 miles to Lower Slaughter, a village in Cotswold, Gloucestershire, in breach of coronavirus restrictions.

Cotswold Police tweeted: “Another Covid ticket handed out in Lower Slaughter. The drivers excuse for the 300 mile round trip was that it was very hard to go shopping in London. #£200DayOut.”

The same force tweeted that on Saturday two more Londoners visiting Bourton-on-the-Water – dubbed the “Venice of the Cotswolds” – were also ticketed by the police for breaching coronavirus restrictions.

They tweeted: “We thought it was supposed to be lockdown? Apparently not in Bourton?! Two Covid tickets handed out to tourists from London and multiple warnings given.”

A group of men were also fined by police after travelling to the Cotswolds from south Wales over the weekend.

Wildlife crime officer Nick Westmacott said the vehicle was stopped in Bourton-on-the-Water High Street at 11pm, reported Gloucestershire Live.

The officer wrote that the vehicle was involved in hare coursing on the A40 at Norleach last weekend and a police national computer marker had been placed on the vehicle.

Watch: Police find man in boot during 320 mile lockdown trip

“Gloucestershire Police Special, in an ANPR equipped vehicle, stop searched the four male occupants for hare coursing evidence,” he said.

“Nothing was found, but as they had all travelled from South Wales without a reasonable excuse they were all issued £200 Covid tickets.

“We have informed Gwent Police who may also want to issue them with Covid tickets for travelling out of Wales without reasonable excuse.”

Read more: What you can and can't do under current lockdown rules

In Scotland, two climbers who travelled from Glasgow to scale Ben Nevis were fined £60 for driving 100 miles.

The Glaswegians needed rescuing while climbing Britain’s highest mountain – only to be handed £60 fines for flouting coronavirus regulations on Saturday.

Police in Ealing dispersed an illegal boat party for more than 70 people on Saturday night, fining the revellers £800 and identifying the organiser, who was reported for consideration of a £10,000 fine.

Read more: Social distancing scrapped as Isle of Man lifts restrictions

Current rules state that people must stay at home and only go out if they have “a reasonable excuse”, such as shopping for essentials.

Advice stresses that you must “stay local” but police have called on the government to be clearer on what this means.

Earlier this month, police came under fire after fining two women £200 fixed-penalty notices after travelling to a reservoir for a walk around five miles from their homes.

Aerial view, Bourton on the Hill, Cotswold Hills, Cotswolds, UK. (Photo by: Matthew Williams-Ellis/Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)
Bourton-on-the Hill in the Cotswolds. (Getty)

Jessica Allen and Eliza Moore drove separately to go for a walk at a remote beauty spot situated around five miles from their homes.

Their fines were later rescinded after it was decided they were not breaking any rules.

The force’s Chief Constable Rachel Swann said: “I can confirm that a review into fixed penalty notices (FPNs) issued by my officers last week has been completed.

“Two fixed penalty notices that were handed to two women who had travelled to Foremark Reservoir on Thursday have been withdrawn and we have notified the women directly, apologising for any concern caused.”

Read more: NHS will take months to return to normal in England, says hospitals boss

Hardyal Dhindsa, police and crime commissioner of Derbyshire Police, said officers “may get it wrong” when handing out fines to lockdown rule-breakers and that a recent incident in the county could have been dealt with differently.

Speaking to BBC Breakfast, he said officers had a “very difficult job in really trying circumstances”, with the “ever-changing” COVID-19 restrictions.

He said: “It’s no wonder that in circumstances like this, sometimes when they are trying to do the best job they can they may get it wrong.”

Watch: What you can and can't do during England's third national lockdown