Lockdown: Unusual Excuses for Non-Essential Travel Revealed


Police forces across the UK are increasingly asking themselves what part of “essential travel” does the public not understand? 

Since March 24, people living in the UK have been instructed they may only leave home to exercise once a day, travel to work if it can’t be done from home, to shop for essential items and fulfil medical or care needs. Despite clear instructions, some people have taken a rather elastic approach to the message to stay home.  For a few, the mountains and beaches have been calling, and the risk of a little (polite) confrontation with police seems worth the challenge.

Forces in Wales have released details of people who just can’t stay away:

  • Brighton to Tenby to pick up a camper van. A man was fined by police for travelling by train from his home on the south coast of England to west Wales to pick up a motor home. He was caught on the return leg of his trip and fined.
  • Campers who drove from Hereford to Tenby to enjoy a night on the beach got their wheels stuck in the sand and had to be helped out by police. They had removed signs at the entrance of the car park stating that it was closed. Their 120-mile trip and night under the stars cost £430 in fines.
  • A 100-mile trip to the beach came to a premature end when police pulled over a car for having a noisy exhaust. The young driver and her two passengers were heading to the beach at Aberystwyth from her home in Gloucester.
  • Climbing the highest peak in Wales was too tempting for two separate cars of ten people from England. Turned around by police and issued with fines, the mountain enthusiasts had told to put their trip on ice. In a statement, North Wales Police said: “We despair – we really do…please, please, please stay home. Now is not the time to come to the national park for a walk. The mountains will still be here, and we will gladly welcome you back when this is all over.”
  • Going to Ireland to collect a dog. A driver from Manchester was stopped on the A477 and questioned. After being turned around he admitted that he knew he was “chancing his luck”.

A night under the stars features in a few stories. The BBC recently reported on Matt, 29 of south-west England, who raised a complaint with his local police force because he was stopped with his family of four as he headed off in the car to watch a meteor shower. He said the family had been excited to load telescopes and binoculars and pile into the car for a 5-mile drive to get a better view of the sky. When police officers asked them to return home, as this was deemed unnecessary travel, Matt argued that they were going out for exercise. It was 11.30pm.

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