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Women on exercise trip ‘surrounded by police’ and fined £200 each

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Two women have told how they were surrounded by police and fined £200 each after driving five miles to take a walk in an apparent breach of lockdown restrictions.

Walkers Jessica Allen and Eliza Moore were told the hot drinks they had brought with them were not allowed because they were "classed as a picnic".

Under the current coronavirus lockdown people can travel for exercise as long as it is in their local area, but Derbyshire Police said driving for exercise was "not in the spirit" of the restrictions.

The pair drove to take a stroll at Foremark Reservoir near Burton upon Trent, Derbyshire, on Wednesday afternoon.

Miss Allen, who lives in nearby Ashby-de-la-Zouch, Leicestershire, assumed "someone had been murdered" because the place was swarming with police.

She said: "As we drove in there was a police van, a police car, and there were loads of police there.

"I genuinely thought someone had been murdered, the place is normally so quiet. The next things, my car is surrounded. Straight away they start questioning us.

"One of them started reading my rights and I was looking at my friend thinking: 'This must be a joke'.

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"I said we had come in separate cars, even parked two spaces away and even brought our own drinks with us. He said: 'You can't do that as it's classed as a picnic'."

Her friend Miss Moore added that she was "stunned at the time".

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Andrew Bridgen, MP for North West Leicestershire where the would-be walkers live, said he regards Foremark Reservoir as a local area as he criticised the police for issuing fines.

Miss Allen described the experience as "intimidating" and it has left her "scared" of the police.

Derbyshire Police said in a statement: "Driving to a location – where exercise could easily have been taken closer to a person's home – is clearly not in the spirit of the national effort to reduce our travel, reduce the possible spread of the disease and reduce the number of deaths.

"Each officer will use their professional judgement on a case-by-case basis, however, people should expect to be challenged and understand the clear reasons why they may be asked about their movements given the critical situation the NHS currently finds itself in."

  • Coronavirus
  • Lockdown

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