Five people hit with covid fines after travelling for barbeque on snowy moors

Despite bitter temperatures and a ‘Stay at Home' lockdown message, five people have been slapped with £200 Covid fines after cops found them on a snowy moor having a barbecue.

Friday, 22nd January 2021, 5:02 pm
Updated Friday, 22nd January 2021, 5:03 pm

With temperatures below freezing and gusts of up to 40mph from the remnants of Storm Christoph, a the party was the last thing Durham Constabulary officers expected to see when they were called to the snow-covered moors above Waskerley, near Consett.

They had headed out to the spot as they responded to reports of 13 people enjoying the traditional summer activity at around 4pm yesterday, Thursday, January 21 – with a baby among the gathering,

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Durham Constabulary was called out the snow-covered moors above Waskerley to reports of a gathering and found families had met up for a barbecue.

When officers arrived, they found five adults from three different households, along with eight children, who had travelled around 20 miles from their homes in Gateshead.

The force has said the adults initially said they did not believe they had done anything wrong,

However, they later accepted that the gathering was not only putting the whole party at risk of Covid-19 but could have also put an unnecessary strain on the emergency services if any of the three vehicles they were in crashed in the bad weather conditions.

All five grown ups were given £200 fines for breaching Covid-19 regulations and sent home with their children, the youngest just seven months old.

Superintendent Ritchie Allen, of Durham Constabulary, said: “The vast majority of people across our communities are sticking to the regulations and we would like thank them for thinking of others and doing their bit to keep everyone safe.

“However, some people are bending the rules and putting others at risk. While we know the stay at home guidance has been particularly challenging for many people, travelling to host a barbecue get together with other households is not acceptable.

“Those in attendance risked not only their own lives but also those of others and could put extra pressure on an already struggling NHS.

“We would rather the public follow the rules than have to resort to issuing fixed penalty notices, but if we do get called to a blatant breach, we will look to issue fines to all those involved.

“Please think of others and if in doubt of the rules, check your local government website.”

Anyone who would like to read the guidance can visit https://www.gov.uk/guidance/national-lockdown-stay-at-home.

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