Patrols will take place aroundThirlmere and Bassenthwaite Lake. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

Patrols will take place aroundThirlmere and Bassenthwaite Lake. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

Police in the Lake District have been carrying out patrols where visitors are suspected of camping.

Under current government rules, overnight stays away from home are not permitted, though day visits to the national park are.

The restrictions also apply to people in camper vans and motorhomes.

Cumbria Constabulary said its officers and staff from the national park authority have also had to deal with large amounts of litter left at beauty spots.

Police have issued fines to those found camping in contravention of Covid-19 lockdown laws.

Among the areas to be subject to checks will be locations such as around Bassenthwaite Lake and Thirlmere. On Wednesday officers today carried out patrols through areas including the Honister Pass, Buttermere, Whinlatter, Dodd Wood and Newlands Pass.

Inspector Rachel Gale said: “Over the weekend, numerous fixed penalty notices were given out to people camping overnight.

“This included five notices to people camping at Thirlmere.

“As well as issuing fixed penalty notices, our officers have also helped with the clean-ups needed after some visitors have left.

“In recent days at Thirlmere they were confronted with waste including plastic and glass, empty cider cans, rotten food, cardboard boxes, the remains of barbecues and even toilet waste.

“We want the message to be clear: we are checking and we are issuing fines to those who choose to visit here and stay overnight away from their home, including camping or staying in their vehicles overnight.”

One man from Cheshire and five people from Birmingham were spotted breaching guidelines and will have to pay fines.

Richard Leafe, chief executive of the Lake District National Park Authority, said: “We remind all our visitors that the Lake District is there to be enjoyed during the day.

“But we ask that you return home each evening.

“Our team are working hard with Cumbria police to reinforce the message that overnight stays are not allowed.

“Please help us to look after this special place and make sure your visit leaves no trace.”

Insp Gale added: “The Lake District is a beautiful place and we understand perfectly why people want to visit.

“To those visiting I’d add: social distancing must be observed at all times, vehicles must be parked legally and considerately and visitors must take their rubbish away to be disposed of safely and responsibly.

“Roads blocked by parked cars and piles of discarded bottles and barbecues on the lakeshores are not acceptable.”

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