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Police in England to patrol routes out of Wales during firebreak lockdown

Police in England will attempt to block non-essential journeys out of Wales while the country is under a two-week firebreak lockdown.

Gloucestershire Constabulary confirmed they will patrol routes into the Forest of Dean area and pull over vehicles they suspect of making long journeys.

Motorists found to be driving out of Wales without a valid excuse will be advised to turn around and, if they refuse, reported to police there who can issue fines.

It will form part of a wider police operation in response to high numbers of people from outside the Forest of Dean area visiting Cannop cycle centre and causing congestion by parking on grass verges near it.

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A spokesman for the force said on Friday: ‘While we cannot issue fines to those travelling from Wales into the county we can inform the host force of those we stop about what has happened so they can take action.

‘Officers will be running an operation from tomorrow and over the weekend that will cover routes from Wales into the Forest of Dean and if we stop someone travelling from Wales we will be engaging with them to find out why, explaining the legislation and encouraging them to turn around if we are not satisfied with their explanation.

‘If they don’t turn around we will then inform the force that polices the area they have travelled from so that they can issue a fine.

‘It is important to stress that the vast majority of people are abiding by the rules but, in line with our policing approach, we will take action where there are flagrant breaches.’

The 17-day firebreak lockdown began at 6pm on Friday.

People can only leave their home for limited reasons, such as to buy food and medicine, provide care or take exercise, and they must work from home where possible.

All non-essential retail, leisure, hospitality and tourism businesses are closed, along with community centres, libraries and recycling centres, while places of worship are shut other than for funerals or wedding ceremonies.

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