Police tell dad he can't sit in his own front garden

South Yorkshire Police have apologised after a man was incorrectly told by an officer that he was not allowed to sit in his own front garden.

The incident occurred in Eastwood, Rotherham on Thursday as Daniel Connell filmed his argument with a police officer on his doorstep.

In the video, the police officer advised Mr Connell to ‘stay indoors because of Covid-19’ and said that ‘the virus does not stop on your front garden’.

Current Government guidelines allow people to spend as much time as they like in their own gardens during the lockdown period, but social distancing measures must be observed if the areas border public paths or roads.

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Mr Connell, who had been spending time in his front garden with his partner and two children, was told by the police officer: ‘You cannot come on your front garden. I’m recording [this video], you cannot come on your front garden.

When told that the advice contradicts the current guidelines, the officer replied: ‘I cannot speak for anybody else. You know when you look around and there’s nobody out? It’s because you can’t come out.

‘The virus does not stop on your front garden.’

South Yorkshire Police subsequently issued an apology and claimed that the officer in the video has now been reminded of the lockdown guidelines for the public.

‘This encounter was well-intentioned but ill-informed and we’d like to apologise for the way it was handled,’ said South Yorkshire Police.

‘We’ve spoken to the officer concerned and made our approach absolutely clear.

‘Again, we apologise for any inconvenience caused and will continue our work to support the NHS.

‘Current guidelines from the government allow for the use of your gardens both front and back.

‘If you garden has a road or path running along it then be aware of social distancing if there is likely to be people passing by on foot – please use common sense.’

In his response to the video, Alexander Stafford, the MP for Rother Valley, said: ‘This is clearly not right.

‘Whilst cannot see full context of the video, people are of course allowed to be in their gardens – front or back – and should be allowed to continue to do.

‘This is clearly an overreach!’

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