The tent was pitched just feet away from the cliff edge. Photo: Alastair Smith/HM Coastguard

The tent was pitched just feet away from the cliff edge. Photo: Alastair Smith/HM Coastguard

Two people who pitched their tent next to unstable cliffs on the North Yorkshire coast have been given fixed penalties for breaking lockdown legislation.

The pair set up camp, with a young child, dangerously close to the 280ft drop near Port Mulgrave on the Cleveland Way national trail.

The cliffs, south-east of the village of Staithes, are prone to landslips.

A 30-year-old man from Middlesbrough and a woman, 27, from Doncaster, were given the penalties for staying outside their home address. North Yorkshire Police and local Coastguard volunteers also gave the pair safety advice on the dangers of the location they chose and the threat posed to them and the young child who was with them.

The Coastguard received a 999 call shortly after 1pm on Saturday from a member of the public concerned a tent had been pitched dangerously close to Rosedale Cliffs. Staithes and Whitby Coastguard Rescue Teams found the two adults and a child at the site. The volunteers notified police who issued the fixed penalties for contravening a requirement to not leave or be outside their place of living.

A North Yorkshire Police spokesperson said: “Everyone is aware of the current restrictions that are in place to stay at home to stop the spread of Covid, so to travel from Middlesbrough and Doncaster with the intention to camp overnight is obviously a clear breach of the regulations.

“But to then choose to pitch a tent in such a dangerous location is completely irresponsible.

“Not only were the individuals involved risking their own safety and the safety of the child who was with them, if a landslide had occurred, they would also be risking the lives of the emergency services who would attend the resulting incident.

“Our thanks go to the member of the public who reported their concerns and to our Coastguard colleagues who also attended. Their actions may have averted a completely preventable tragedy.

“The pandemic is not over and Covid still presents a risk to public health. Lockdown restrictions are still in place to stop the spread, so we must keep on adhering to the rules to protect all of our chances of moving out of lockdown.”

Adam Turner, senior coastal operations officer for HM Coastguard, said: “The family were in an extremely perilous position and had no idea of the danger that they were in. Cliff edges are really unstable and can easily collapse as recent landslips have shown.

“If you live near the coast and are in a position to take your exercise there in line with current Covid-19 restrictions, please take care near cliffs.

“Keep to paths and stay well back from the cliff edge. Check the weather and tides before you head out, wear appropriate sturdy footwear and take a fully charged mobile phone so if the worst should happen you can call 999 and ask for the Coastguard.”

Some articles the site thinks might be related:

  1. North Yorkshire Police issue 61 weekend fines as Covid-19 lockdown rules flouted
  2. Pair who prompted callout in which Lakeland rescuer injured handed £200 fines
  3. Oldham team puts Covid-19 measures into practice during Blackstone Edge rescue
  4. Dead North York Moors buzzard contained enough poison to kill a child
  5. Aberdyfi team uses Covid-19 protocols during callout to teen stuck on steep ground