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Coronavirus map LIVE: Police promise to fine any beachgoers suspected of staying overnight

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Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner Martin Underwood said officers would not hesitate to “use enforcement” if the need arises when dealing with an influx of travellers. Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme, he said Friday was the busiest day in nine weeks for police in Bournemouth. Thousands flocked to the strand, voted Britain’s best beach, to soak up the sun two months into the lockdown. And even bigger crowds are expected this weekend as temperatures soar to beyond 20C.

When asked if the numbers arriving in Bournemouth were becoming a problem, he said: “Yes, they are.

“And, of course, there is the obvious dilemma of the lockdown reducing and normal policing picking up starting to realise itself.

“For example, yesterday was the busiest day for Bournemouth police for nine weeks – it was a normal Friday but yet the police were the busiest they have ever been because things are starting to pick up and numbers are increasing.”

He said officers are worried about people travelling to the South West for overnight stays – something which is not permitted under Boris Johnson’s lockdown rules.

Mr Underwood warned anyone planning to stay in the region for a night or two runs the risk of being slapped with a fine.

He added: “The main issue we are worried about is the influx of people coming into Dorset and of course there are two issues – one is travelling to the South West and the other is people attempting to stay in the South West.

“If you are stopped on an arterial road in the South West the five forces could stop you and question you, and if they think you are planning on staying overnight, they can then go to the next level.

“They will use enforcement if they have to.”

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