One of the main roads into the Lake District, seen before the coronavirus crisis. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

One of the main roads into the Lake District, seen before the coronavirus crisis. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

Police in Cumbria said officers in the Lake District will be stopping motorists to ask if their travel is essential.

And officers in North Yorkshire said they too were setting up vehicle checkpoints.

Cumbria Constabulary said it has a clear message to anyone considering travelling to its area: the Lake District is closed. It said the message follows scenes last weekend which saw thousands of tourists descend on the Lake District. This weekend we do not want to see the same, it said.

Temporary Chief Superintendent Rob O’Connor said: “Last weekend we saw significant amounts of tourists travel to the Lake District, and my message is really simple, the Lake District is closed.

“Pubs, cafes and restaurants are closed, and we do not want to see people travelling to the Lakes in caravans and camper vans or driving many miles in their cars to go walking on the fells.

“The Government guidance is really clear in relation to personal movements to limit the spread of coronavirus.”

Under the restrictions, people must stay at home and only leave for the following reasons:

  • To exercise once a day – either alone or with members of your household
  • Shopping for basic necessities, although this should be done as little as possible
  • Medical need or to provide care for a vulnerable person
  • Travel to or from work but only where this is absolutely necessary.

Temporary Chief Superintendent O’Connor said: “It is really clear that people should not be travelling unless there is an essential reason to do so. It does not mean on nice days you can drive into the Lakes and go walking, or ride your motorbike to Devil’s Bridge at Kirkby Lonsdale.

“I still want my officers to engage, explain and encourage the public in relation to the restrictions that are in place. There is now legislation that means people can be fined for breaching the restrictions, but my preference is that my officers do not need to resort to doing so, and that the public show common sense and do not travel into the Lakes.

“Over the weekend people will see my officers in the Lakes and the Kirkby Lonsdale areas, and they can expect to be stopped and asked whether their travel is essential.

“As we saw on Thursday evening there was an outpouring of support nationally for the NHS, and people need to ensure they follow the government guidance and restrictions in these unprecedented times to ensure we do not overburden the NHS.”

Malham Cove, seen before the lockdown, was one area inundated with visitors. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

Malham Cove, seen before the lockdown, was one area inundated with visitors. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

North Yorkshire Police said they would be checking vehicles after large numbers descended on Yorkshire Dales honeypots last weekend.

Officers will be stopping vehicles and asking motorists where they are going, why they are going there, and reminding them of the message to stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives.

Assistant Chief Constable Mike Walker, said: “The new and significant restrictions announced by the Prime Minister on Monday evening spell out very clearly what each and every one of us must do to save lives. The message is clear and the warning stark. Stay at home, save lives.

“These are the lives of the people we know and love. Our partners, mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, children, grandparents. You may never be in such a position again where your simple actions will lead directly to saving lives.

“Alongside the new restrictions, the Government announced new powers to enforce them. I know the vast majority of people will follow the restrictions without question, as they have done so already.

“And as the legislation comes into force, the roadside checks will help us to reinforce the messaging. So we ask people not to make non-essential journeys, and to understand the definition of essential. We sincerely hope that we won’t have to resort to enforcement action, but if people do not comply, we will.

“We’ll also be out on foot, with a highly visible policing presence, to disperse groups, enforce the social distancing measures and remind people of the seriousness of the situation we are facing.

“Please continue to look after each other, try and make the most of this unprecedented opportunity to spend more time with your loved ones, and remember we are here for you if you need us.”

North Yorkshire Police said the checkpoints will be unannounced and could appear anywhere any time.

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