Despite repeated warnings that people must stay at home because of the coronavirus pandemic, hundreds of people have continued to descend on the Lake District National Park.
As a result, police have taken the unprecedented step of announcing that the entire park is closed for the first time in its history.
This morning Cumbria Police said the park was closed after witnessing record numbers of people head to beauty spots across the country, defying Government orders to stay indoors.
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 campervans 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.
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‘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 Devils 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.’
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