'Stick to the rules' plea to sledging families as snow sees crowds head out to the hills
Scores have turned out to snow-covered slopes over the last few days as the region is left with a blanket of flakes – with more flurries expected in coming days as the Met Office yellow alert continues.
But concerns have been raised about the risk of spreading the coronavirus as the lockdown continues.
As Cleadon Hills became busy yesterday, Wednesday, February 10, residents on social media raised concerns about the crowds, as well as issues around parking on Sunniside Lane and the danger to its Exmoor ponies, with people seeing visitors trying to feed them and getting too close to the animals.
Today, South Tyneside Council issued advice in a bid to keep people safe and reduce the likelihood of catching Covid-19.
Tom Hall, its director of Public Health, said: “While we appreciate that many people are keen to enjoy the wintry weather, it is important to remember the need for social distancing.
“While exercise is allowed, we would urge people not to congregate in large groups and to respect the rules, particularly around social distancing, which are aimed at reducing the spread of the virus while the vaccine is rolled out.”
As the ponies returned to the site of special scientific interest (SSSI) for the sixth time in November, the council issued advice to help keep the ponies safe from harm.
Northumbria Police officers visited the nature reserve as part of its patrols in the area as the force ensures people keep safe and to encourage people to follow the Government restrictions.
The National Police Chiefs' Council has said it does not have specific guidance on sledging, but says it is approach is to engage with people to establish their circumstances and to encourage people to comply with the lockdown rules.
Its says officers will only enforce regulations when “appropriate and necessary.”
The Met Office warning has been extended in Saturday, February 13, as it predicts yet more ice and snow across the North East of the country.