Northumbria Police praise residents as 'majority' observe coronavirus lockdown

Residents have been praised by police for largely staying indoors during the first weekend of the coronavirus lockdown.

By Gavin Ledwith
Monday, 30th March 2020, 4:14 pm
Updated Monday, 30th March 2020, 8:17 pm

Last weekend hundreds of people had flocked to the region’s coastal areas and country parks to exercise and enjoy the early spring sunshine.

But Northumbria Police then warned that lives could be put at risk if large crowds all flocked to the same locations for exercise.

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Police at Roker Beach, in Sunderland, as the lockdown enters its second week.

Police were on patrol at the region’s beauty spots for the first weekend since the new restrictions were put in place and found them largely deserted.

Chief Superintendent Janice Hutton said on Monday: “It was concerning for everyone to see the large crowds of people gathering on our beaches and in some rural locations last weekend despite the warning to stay indoors.

“Since then we have been given new powers by Government but we have always been clear that we will engage and encourage you, with fines being issued only as a last resort.

“After speaking to officers across our region, I am delighted that this approach has been effective and the majority of people have all worked together and supported the strict measures.

Quiet scenes at Sandhaven Beach, in South Shields, as the second week of the nationwide coronavirus lockdown begins.

“In many ways, it is sad to see our beauty spots deserted but it is necessary and I can’t thank you all enough for staying at home and doing your part to save lives.

“I would ask that you continue to support us and all the other emergency services during these challenging times. Together we call all make a difference.”

The force have declined to reveal if any fines were issued during the first week.

Further information about the restrictions, including a list of key workers and what is considered essential travel, can be found at www.gov.uk/coronavirus.

The public should not contact police to ask about the restrictions or potential punishments as they will not be able to provide any additional details

Anyone who needs to speak to police is asked to do so online by searching Northumbria Police – Report an Incident or Northumbria Police – Tell Us Something online.

Dial 999 for emergencies.